Spring has finally arrived after a dreary winter. If the sun and warmer weather have you motivated to clean, it would be a good time to check the condition of your outdoor plumbing too.
At John Schoeffling Plumbing, we want to provide you with a few tips so that you can feel comfortable turning your outdoor plumbing appliances on for the first time this spring. Follow these steps to be sure you’re prepped for warmer weather.
1. Inspect Your Water Heater
Your water heater probably got a lot of use throughout the cold winter. Now that the warm weather is here, it’s a better time to do a quick inspection and drain the system out as part of regular maintenance.
Check to make sure the temperature is set at about 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the unit from making scalding hot water and ensure peak energy efficiency.
Next, you’ll want to flush your water heater. Water that passes through the heater, especially water with more minerals, will deposit sediment in the tank. These deposits can make your heater less efficient and force it to work harder to do its job, shortening its lifespan. Draining some of the water out of the tank will rid it of some sediment.
2. Turn on Outdoor Water Valves
When you were going through your home and winterizing before it got too cold out, you probably turned off your water valves. Now, it’s time to turn them back on.
When you go to open these valves, do so very slowly. If you fail to do so, you can create a water hammer, which is caused by a quick change in water flow. A water hammer can burst fittings, damage valves and pop off sprinkler heads.
3. Prepare Your Sprinklers and Irrigation System
Now that you have turned your main water valve back on, you can start preparing your sprinkler system. First, open the valve that allows water to flow to your sprinklers. Do so slowly until you can hear the water moving through the device.
Make your way to the backflow prevention system and ensure that it is working properly. Then, go to the main control panel and turn it on. You can choose your settings for start and end time as well as the irrigation zones to be used. If your panel has a battery backup system, now is a good time to change the batteries. Wipe away any dirt or grime from the control panel that might have built up over winter.
Finally, clean off your sprinkler heads and make sure they are oriented the way you like them.
4. Outdoor Faucets
Once you have your outdoor water main valve turned on, it is time to check the faucets. As always, turn them on slowly.
When the faucets are running, check for lower water pressure. Let the water run for a few minutes. It is normal for the pressure too seem low at first, as air may have gotten into the lines while they were turned off. If you notice sustained low water pressure, however, it’s a sign of a leak and requires a professional inspection.