Springtime is the worst season for plumbing problems just about everywhere, but because of the crazy weather patterns, Springtime plumbing issues in Denver are especially tricky. Plumbing problems can spring up all year long, but the trend has been that the nastiest problems will rear their ugly heads in during April and May. In Colorado, April is usually our wettest month. It isn’t uncommon for us to see a snowstorm during the night and watching all the ice and snow thaw the next day. The warm sun and the thaws can make it so the plumbing issues we may not have seen in the winter finally make their appearance.
Luckily, most of the problems that come along with springtime plumbing are simple fixes, so you won’t have to call a plumber. These are the 3 most common springtime plumbing issues and how to fix them before they start to do serious damage and cost you money!
Springtime is the biggest time for clogs in drains, gutters and more due to all the new budding leaves on the trees or the debris from the previous fall. This leaf debris can fall unto your gutters and cause clogs as the winter progresses with all the freezes and the thaws. When the rains come in April after a winter full of clogged gutters, you’ve got yourself a castle moat all around your house.
Standing water can be dangerous for the structural integrity of your home. You don’t want a lake, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your home’s gutters so that you can avoid these clogs and the water build up that happens as a result of the clog.
Wearing rubber shoes with good traction, you can easily stand on a ladder or on your roof to clean out your gutters. Make sure that you’re being very careful, as so many accidents are caused on ladders in the home and the hospital visit will definitely cost you. If you’re cleaning gutters near a power line, make sure you use a plastic ladder, and not a metal one to prevent electric shocks.
You can use a hose, gutter scoop, or a gutter cleaning tool that acts similar to a snake for a clogged toilet. Using these tools will help you to clear the debris from your gutters and prevent clogs. Make sure that the downspouts on your gutters are clear of debris as well.
Low Water Pressure
Nothing is more irritating than a shower with the pressure of someone gently crying on you. You never really come out feeling totally clean. While this lazy stream of water is an irritating part of life, it comes with a pretty quick fix. If your taps are flowing slowly, you can probably deduce that low water pressure is the problem. There are plenty of different reasons you may experience low water pressure, but all of these things are easy to fix at home yourself.
If the low pressure from your taps is bothering you, be sure to check out a few different things to solve the problem. The first is your pipes. If you live in a house that was built a long time ago, you may need to upgrade your pipes to bring them up to modern building standards. Older homes and businesses may have water pipes that are too small and restrict the amount of water that is able to flow through them, so sometimes, replacing your pipes with slightly wider pipes will work. Talk with the water company in your area for more information, as the codes are different in different places.
You should also make sure there isn’t a leak in the pipes somewhere. When pipes leak, it makes it difficult for the water to make it to your faucets in full force, depending on the size of the leak. The best way to detect a leak without searching for puddles in hard to reach places, the best thing to do is turn off your water for a few hours. Make a note of the water meter before you turn it off, and again after you turn it back on. If the water meter level increased when the water was turned off, you have a leak you must detect! Look out for puddles and replace the pipes as necessary.
Finally, you should check your pipes for rust and debris. You’d be surprised at how much a dirty pipe will restrict water flow. Pipes that are corroded or gunked up are the number one cause for low-water flow. Clean out any dirty pipes, and replace the corroded ones. Corroded pipes can cause an even bigger, more expensive problem. If you need any help, be sure to call a plumber.
If you’ve ever been in a shower, odds are you’ve experienced the drain not being able to keep up with the water. It’s an annoying and sometimes a pretty gross part of life. Instead of the water draining as it hits the drain, it can pool in the basin of the sink or at the bottom of your bathtub and turn your bathroom into a bowlful of flotsam and bacteria.
Sometimes poor drainage is a symptom of a larger problem, but if you want to avoid the sticky issue, be sure to pull out your sink or bathtub’s pop up plug. These plugs are notorious for catching and holding onto debris like hair, hardened soap, paper products, and more. This debris can keep the water in your sink or bathtub from actually draining through, because it’s getting stuck on objects that shouldn’t be there. If you take the pop up out of the sink or bathtub, you can clear it out by using needle-nose pliers to pull the hair out, or you can use other tools to clear drains. Sometimes Draino will get the job done. Just be sure it won’t corrode the pipes in your home. The Zip-it tool is a homeowner’s best friend for this situation.
If you’ve got a big ball of hair or something similar stuck in the j bend of your sink, you can always use a plunger to loosen them up. Plungers are awesome for stopped up sinks and bathtubs. As a tip, make sure you plug up your overflow drains with duct tape or something similar before you start plunging so that you get the maximum suction and clear the clog, whatever it may be. If that doesn’t clear the clog, you can detect where it is and clear it out manually by removing the piece of the pipe that is clogged and using needle-nose pliers to pull the debris out.
Not sure what an overflow is? In a sink, the overflow is usually a hole or several small holes that allow the sink to drain faster and prevent flooding if the tap was left running for an extended period of time. Bathtubs have overflows too, and can usually be found underneath the water spout or underneath the manual drain stopper. It’s just a hole that drains extra water and prevents flooding as well. The overflow can get clogged as well, especially with dust and grime. If you’re having problems draining, make sure to clean out the overflow as well if you suspect it may be inhibiting the drainage process.
These are the most common issues that find their way to become a problem during the Spring. They’re all relatively quick and easy to fix on your own, but don’t feel obligated to do it yourself. Some things are best left to the professionals, especially if you aren’t a hundred percent sure what you’re doing. Nobody wants to spend more money than they have to, especially on plumbing. If you feel like a job is going to be too difficult, overwhelming, or stressful for you, you can always call a plumber to make it easier on you.