This week, we’re going to talk about some ESSENTIAL spring maintenance for you to take care of around the house. That’s right, I said essential, which means time to start nagging. If there is any pushback, just tell them “Geoff said you have to do it, so hurry up”. I’ll happily take the blame 😉. Besides, you’ll really feel bad if you have to call us in to take care of something that happened because you didn’t do your spring maintenance in the first place!
1. Test Your Sump Pump
I know, I know, I’ve nagged you about this countless times. Still, we get panicked calls from homeowners whose sump pumps aren’t working and are about 5 minutes away from bailing water out of their basements. The sump pump is what removes that groundwater during snow melts, heavy rains, etc. and is an essential part of most homes (if you don’t have one and don’t have water issues in the basement, consider yourself lucky!). As you know, spring and summer are the times we most need these to be working!
The best way to check your sump pump is to fill is up with buckets of water, or water from a hose. Once the water level reaches a certain height, it will be pumped out of the house and away from the foundation. If nothing happens, or you just hear a buzzing but there is no water movement, it’s likely that your sump pump has reached the end of it’s life and needs replacing. Typically, this happens every 10 years or so.
Bonus tip: If you have a battery powered backup pump, unplug the primary pump and follow the same steps as above, but to the level of the float of the backup pump. This will simulate the event where your primary pump has failed and you are now relying on the backup to do the job for you. If the backup works, great! If not, it could mean a number of things, but most likely that you need a new battery.
2. Open the Outdoor Water and Check for Leaks
Opening the water to the hose in the spring can be an eventful thing if a pipe has frozen over the winter. One second you’re ready to start gardening, the next you’re calling me because there’s water all over your basement! Once you’ve opened the water to the outside, stay down in the basement for a few minutes and monitor to make sure there hasn’t been any burst pipes. Also, make sure to check the interior valve for slow leaks. I’ve heard of customers opening the water, going upstairs, and not coming down again until hours later to find a flooded basement. Don’t be that person!
3. Inspect Supply Lines to All Fixtures and Appliances
The supply lines that attach the different fixtures and appliances in your homes to the shut off valves that control them should be replaced every 7-10 years. Now, I know none of you do that, so do me the favour of at least taking a look at them. Every fixture and appliance in your house has these supply lines, with the exception of showers or baths. That means sinks, toilets, dishwashers, laundry machines, you name it. Have a look at the supply lines and check for cracking, peeling, or any other type of aging. If you want to be really proactive, either go through the house yourself to replace them or feel free to call us to take care of it for you. This is another thing that when they burst, create huge amounts of damage very quickly!
4. Pour a Gallon of Water Down your Floor Drains
The floor drains in your basement all have what are called “P-Traps”, similar to that U-shaped pipe you find under your sinks. As you all know, water evaporates over time. When the water evaporates in these rarely used floor drains, it allows sewer gases to come up and enter the home. Simply take a one-gallon bucket and pour the entire contents down the drain. This will “re-seal” the trap and stop any sewer gases from coming into your basement. In theory, there should be something called a “trap seal primer” that keeps these drains full for you, but 99% of older homes won’t have it, so it’s up to you!
5. Clean your Backwater Valve
I know its gross, but its necessary. So, time to get your longest set of rubber gloves and get in there. Backwater valves need annual maintenance to remove any debris and ensure that flapper is working properly. You’ve gone and spent thousands on installing one to prevent flooding in your home, so take the 5 minutes every year and do the maintenance! To do this, simply remove the cover and unscrew the cap. Reach down and remove any sitting debris that is on/around the yellow flapper. Also, lift the flapper to make sure there isn’t any resistance and that it will work in an emergency.
Thank you as always for reading and I hope you’ve learned something 😊. Have a great week and we’ll see you next time!