Your Spring Plumbing Checklist

Your springtime plumbing checklist in Portland OR & Vancouver WA - D & F Plumbing

Your springtime plumbing checklist in Portland OR & Vancouver WA - D & F PlumbingSpring has sprung, but hopefully a leak hasn’t! With the warmer weather rolling in, it’s time to tackle that to-do list that’s been piling up all winter – and that includes taking a look at your plumbing system. To make sure your system is in great shape for the new season, go through this spring plumbing checklist:

Check for Leaks & Clogs

Winter can wreak havoc on your plumbing system – particularly on the pipes or fixtures that are located outdoors or near external walls. To make sure nothing is leaking and causing damage throughout your home, it’s a good idea to check around your property for any leaks or clogs. If you notice any issues, a professional plumber can help identify and fix the root cause of the problem while preventing any further damage to your home.

Change Your Hoses

While you’re checking your pipes and fixtures for leaks or damage, you can also take a look at the condition of your hoses. Check the hoses to your dishwasher, washing machine, fridge, and other appliances. Keep an eye out for any bulging or discoloration in addition to leaking and cracks. You or a professional can replace any damaged or worn out hoses to keep your appliances functioning flawlessly.

Clean Your Storm Drains

If your storm drains are clogged, you could face some serious flooding during springtime rain. Taking the time to remove any leaves, sticks, or other debris from your storm drains will keep things flowing properly, which will protect your property while preventing other issues like soil erosion. If you run into serious blockages or drainage issues, then it may be useful to invest in an outdoor drain cleaning service to keep everything in good working order.

Test Your Sump Pump

Your sump pump plays a big role in preventing basement flooding, particularly during times of heavy rain. That’s why spring is the perfect time of year to check in on your sump pump and make sure it’s functioning properly. To test your sump pump, first look to make sure that it’s plugged in correctly. Then, pour a bucket of water into the basin to see if the pump is able to clear it. If your sump pump is unable to clear the water, or you notice any signs of moisture issues in your basement, then it may be time to contact a professional.

Adjust Your Water Heater

Water heaters get a lot of use in the cold winter months, which is why spring is the perfect time of year to perform any maintenance and check in on your system. An expert can flush your tank while also screening for any potential issues to make sure yours is working wonderfully for the new season. Now is also a good time to turn down the temperature, which will save you money during the spring and summer.

5 Common Winter Plumbing Issues

5 common winter plumbing issues in Vancouver WA and Portland OR - D&F Plumbing Services

5 common winter plumbing issues in Vancouver WA and Portland OR - D&F Plumbing ServicesOnce you’ve got your fuzzy socks and a warm mug of cocoa, you’re all ready for winter – right? Well, though these things are definitely essentials, you might be missing a couple of important steps. Before you bundle up for the winter, it’s important to prepare your home – or more specifically, your plumbing system – for the cold weather.

Your plumbing system is particularly susceptible to breaking in freezing temperatures, and damages could be quite expensive to repair. Experts estimate that a single burst pipe costs about $5,000 in damages (eek!). To ensure your home is protected from the cold weather, it’s important to know about the common winter plumbing issues and how to prevent them:

1. Burst Pipes

When water freezes inside of a pipe, it expands and causes an increase in pressure that could cause the pipe to break. That’s why burst pipes are such a common problem in winter, and why it’s crucial to protect your plumbing system as temperatures drop. To avoid a burst pipe, you can insulate exposed pipes with heating tape or other pipe insulation. If you aren’t sure how to properly insulate your pipes, an expert may be able to help.

2. Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are a common plumbing issue that can happen during any season. However, winter holidays often mean more cooking and more guests. The combination of increased usage and possible substances – like oil or fat – going down the drain could cause a tough clog. To prevent a backup this winter, try to keep things like coffee grounds, eggshells, and grease from going down the drain.

3. Water Heater Failure

When cold temperatures hit, your water heater has to work much harder to bring you the same amount of warm water – especially if you have guests who are increasing your water usage. The extra strain on your water heater could increase wear and tear while amplifying any problems with your unit. To ensure your water heater is prepared for winter, we recommend draining your tank and scheduling a professional inspection.

4. Frozen Septic Tanks

Septic systems are particularly susceptible to the cold. If your tank freezes over, it could prevent bacteria from treating the sewage, which may cause your tank to overflow or leak raw sewage. That is why it’s critical to winterize your septic tank before winter is in full swing. You can do so by insulating exposed pipes, regularly using hot water, and keeping the drain field clear of any traffic. If it has been 2 or more years since you last pumped your tank, you may also want to do so before winter to avoid backups. To ensure your septic system is totally protected from the cold, you could also contact an expert for personalized recommendations.

5. Leaks and Drips

Leaks and drips are common plumbing problems year-round, but they are more common in the winter. Cold temperatures often cause old or weakened pipes to freeze over and develop more leaks, which are often more challenging to fix in winter weather. To prevent more leaks and drips in the winter, we recommend scheduling a professional inspection to fix any weakened pipes before cold weather sets in.

Plumbing Winterization in Portland OR

Winterizing your plumbing system is an important part of protecting your home from the damage that freezing temperatures can cause. A little bit of preparation and maintenance could save you a lot of time, money, and stress.

If you want to ensure your plumbing system is completely protected from the cold, call a licensed plumber like those at D & F Plumbing to get personalized recommendations. Our skilled technicians have been proudly serving the greater Portland OR area for nearly 100 years, and we can use our expertise to help keep your home safe all winter long. If you want help winterizing your plumbing, call the experts at D & F Plumbing today!

Oh Snap! Don’t Let a Frozen Pipe Ruin Your Winter

Learn how to avoid frozen pipes with the D&F Plumbing experts in Vancouver WA!

Learn how to avoid frozen pipes with the D&F Plumbing experts in Vancouver WA!A frozen or burst pipe can really throw a wrench in your winter plans. The last thing you want is to be patching leaks over the holidays or redirecting a waterfall on New Year’s. But, as temperatures drop, your plumbing system could freeze or crack, leading to some serious and potentially costly problems.

So, as winter sets in, it’s time to get snappy and protect your plumbing! Here are some tips for keeping your pipes in good shape through freezing temperatures this winter:

  • Wrap pipes with insulating materials. Wrapping any exposed pipes in insulating materials, such as heating tape or mineral wool, is a great way to protect them from the cold. That way, they won’t freeze over and risk cracking and leaking.
  • Seal leaks around your home. A lot of homes have some drafty areas. But, if your home has a lot of cold air blowing near your plumbing system, it could become an issue. Sealing off any air leaks around dryer vents, pipes, or electrical wiring can keep your pipes from freezing.
  • Shut off and drain water from outdoor plumbing. Your outdoor pipes are most at risk of freezing and breaking. Since most of us don’t use our outdoor spigots during winter, it’s usually best to shut off water to your outdoor plumbing when cold weather hits. We also recommend draining the pipes and storing your garden hoses indoors.
  • Keep your thermostat the same temperature day and night. A lot of people are in the habit of shutting off their thermostat for the night – after all, you’ll be cozy and wrapped in blankets anyway! But, temperatures are lowest at night, and a particularly cold night is all it would take to freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks and near exterior walls. The heat inside of your home can seep into your exterior walls, keeping your pipes nice and toasty. Opening up cabinet doors near exterior walls can facilitate the transfer of warmth from your home to your plumbing system.
  • Keep garage doors closed as much as possible. The more you keep your garage doors open, the colder your home – and plumbing system – can become. Keeping your garage doors closed can protect the pipes near that part of your house.
  • Thaw frozen pipes with warm water or hair dryers. If worse comes to worst and you notice a pipe is frozen solid, you’ll want to thaw it out quickly. Warm water or the heat from a hairdryer will likely do the trick. It’s important to remember that this should only be used as a last-resort tactic, and you should never use an open flame to thaw out a frozen pipe.
  • Call for help immediately if you run into problems. If you wake up to a burst pipe or a flooded basement, it’s important to call for immediate help. An experienced plumber can help fix the leak quickly and efficiently while providing some guidance on how to prevent future plumbing problems.

Dependable Plumbers in the Pacific Northwest

Winter plumbing problems can be intimidating, not to mention costly without the right attention. However, you’re not alone! The expert technicians at D & F Plumbing in Vancouver WA and Portland OR are committed to helping you keep your plumbing system in great condition. Whether you are facing broken pipes or just want help with winterizing your plumbing, we’ve got you covered! Just give us a call today to get started!

Spring Plumbing Tips

Man cleaning the kitchen sink. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA talks about spring plumbing tips.

Man cleaning the kitchen sink. D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR and Vancouver WA talks about spring plumbing tips.With spring right around the corner, many homeowners will be decluttering and starting fresh by checking off their spring cleaning to-do lists. Make sure plumbing is a priority on your list with these helpful tips from D & F Plumbing.

Check Your Water Heater

Drain at least 2 to 3 gallons of water from your water heater to flush out sediment. Sediment can create blockages, reducing your unit’s efficiency and shortening its lifespan.

  • Ensure your water heater is set to 120°F to reduce energy, help prolong your water heater’s lifespan, and help prevent scalding.
  • Inspect your unit for leaks and corrosion, looking for rust or puddles
  • If your water heater is older than 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing it for a newer, energy-efficient model. Generally, water heaters last around 10 years.

Check Other Appliances

  • Inspect your refrigerator, washing machine, and dishwasher for water leaks or bulging hoses. Replace any hoses that are bulging, leaking or are over 10 years old. Consider installing stainless steel hoses. They are more durable as they don’t burst as easily as other types of appliance hoses.
  • If your washing machine has a lint trap, clean it out to help prevent blockages.
  • If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, you can grind ice cubes to help sharpen the blades and help clear away any waste buildup. You can also grind lemon or orange peels to provide a fresh scent.

Inspect Indoor Plumbing Fixtures

  • Pour a gallon of water down infrequently used drains to fill the p-trap and help prevent any odors.
  • Look underneath all of your sinks and make sure there are no signs of leaks
  • Test your toilet for leaks. One quick and easy way to test your toilet for leaks is by adding food coloring into your tank. If the water in the toilet bowl turns that color within about 30 minutes, you have a leak.

Check Outdoor Faucets

  • Remove your outdoor faucet caps and turn on the faucets, if you notice water leaking in your home, your pipes may have frozen and burst over winter and need to be replaced.
  • Remove any debris from plumbing vent pipes.

Cleanout Gutters & Downspouts

  • Inspect your gutters and downspouts and remove debris and animal nests from them. Blocked gutters can lead to standing water (which can attract pests), soil erosion, and flooding. Blocked gutters can also affect the integrity of your roofing.
  • Make sure your yard drains are also clean and free of debris.

If you don’t feel comfortable performing any of these or you’ve discovered you need to repair or replace a plumbing fixture, contact us. We’re your local source for all of your plumbing needs. We’ll diagnose the problem and offer you solutions that work with your needs and your budget.