Summer is the best time to check for leaks, since a long winter can have an impact on plumbing that we can’t even see, you want a chance during warm weather to take care of any issues before it gets cold again. Individually inspect each of the elements that use water inside and outside of your house: faucets, pipes under the sink, shower heads, bathtub spigots, drinking water line, water softener, hot water heater, outdoor spigots, sprinklers, pool and more to see if they are in good working order. Look for rust, corrosion, leaks, broken or bent parts or other signs of trouble. Grab a bright flashlight to see underneath cabinets and in dark corners. It also helps to have a towel to wipe your hands and a few tissues to help you detect moisture.
Plumbing Tips for Inspecting Leaks
- Toilet: put food coloring in the tank to see if it leaks to the bowl without you flushing the toilet. Check the tank floater and the valve to ensure its attached too. The rubber float and its arm-like hardware wear out over time, and more quickly in hard water situations. The floater valve must be seated correctly, or it allows water to leak out and your toilet to run.
- Water heater: check the water heater for signs of leakage, rust or other problems. Look at the hardware and other parts and see if there is any corrosion. Use a bright flashlight to inspect underneath and around the bottom, and/or you can run your hand all around and under the base to see if you feel the water. Be sure not to touch the flame or heating elements. A typical, tank-type water heater lasts 10-15 years depending on the model, level of maintenance and the kind of water running through it.
- Sprinkler systems: check sprinkler system thoroughly for leaks. Also, inspect and clean the sprinkler heads at the beginning of the season. If you find any that are broken, not working, rusted or damaged, you can remove the head and replace it. Sprinklers are notorious for wasting water because they sometimes spring leaks underground, where we can’t see that they’re leaking. Besides driving up your water bill, a faulty sprinkler or line can kill your grass, because it can’t survive on too much or too little water. Re-open the system slowly at summer’s start and then test the zones one at a time as you watch the sprinkler heads and the direction of each. You don’t want water running to the foundation or onto the home itself. If you have any questions or concerns about your sprinkler system be sure to call your sprinkler company.
- Main water shutoff: it is always good to know where the main water shutoff to your home is located and how to use it. Some homes have a shutoff valve within the structure, such as the basement, garage or utility closet. Others have one outside in the yard or near the water main in the street, curb or sidewalk. You can also consult with our technicians during your next call and ask them to show you where it is. Should anything happen with any of your water-using appliances or areas of the home, you want to be able to stop the water, so you can deal with the emergency. If you leave home for any length of time, for summer vacation or other trips, the best insurance you can have against water mishaps and flooding while you’re gone is to turn the water off at the main valve before you leave.
Should you find any leaky plumbing during your inspection, give us a call 402.298.5414. We can schedule a technician to come out and resolve your issue.