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Spring Plumbing Maintenance

One of the most important spring cleaning tasks that most homeowners seem to overlook is plumbing maintenance. While Houston homes don’t experience the harsh winters that can typically harm plumbing, there are several problems that can manifest during the fall and winter that can lead to serious repair and replacement issues.

While your plumbing may not have been in danger of freezing, holidays, cooler weather and work/school calendars affect usage and wear. Spring in Houston is the ideal time for spring cleaning and home maintenance – and your plumbing should be a top priority. We’ve compiled a list of essential tips to ensure that your plumbing system is in good condition and running efficiently.

Fix Minor Leaks: Some households will live with a minor leak until it becomes a major repair issue. Do you have a faucet or shower head leak that has yet to be repaired? A slow leak can cause major damage to areas around the fixture – in addition to damaging the fixture itself. It can also waste several gallons of water day. Some leaks only require tightening the adjusting ring, but sometimes a part or full fixture replacement is required. If the leak isn’t something you can fix yourself, call a plumber to tackle the problem before it escalates.

Search for Hidden Leaks: Hidden leaks in your plumbing are difficult to catch (they’re hidden!). But when you know what to look for, it’s easier to identify plumbing leaks behind walls and other hidden areas. The first tell-tale sign is a spike in your water bill. If you notice a major increase in your utility bill, with no obvious increase in water usage, this is your first sign that you might have a leak. The sudden smell of mold or mildew in a room (without an obvious origin) is also a sign of a hidden leak. Walls with peeling paint, peeling wall paper or staining are also signs of a plumbing leak.

Signs of a Hidden Water Leak

Clean/Fix Drains: It’s always good to clean out the drain area of your sinks, shower, and bathtub. Drains that have a screen to catch debris already need to be cleaned regularly. However, giving them an intensive clean with a small brush to loosen soap scum, toothpaste, and other gummy products will ensure an easier, faster flow of water. Follow this up by cleaning the drain and plumbing with an eco-friendly solution of baking powder and vinegar. Simply pour a quarter cup of baking powder into the drain followed by a half cup of white vinegar. This cleaner will also unclog drains without the harsh, abrasive chemicals of over-the-counter products.


Begin Monthly Maintenance: Be proactive with your plumbing and start a monthly cleaning schedule. This is especially important for bathroom sinks and bathtub/showers where hair and soap scum often clog the pipes. Use the same baking powder and vinegar solution described above once a month to keep the buildup of those elements at a minimum.

Replace Old Fixtures: Now is a great time to replace those old water fixtures that are either old or no longer perform efficiently. Changing out a faucet fixture might require the help of a plumber, but by researching the ideal design for both efficiency and price, and buying it yourself, you’ll save some money in that equation. Getting a new shower head is a much easier DIY task – and replacing your current model with a modern low-flow design will help you save substantially on water use.

Find Out How to Shut Off Water: While you are performing maintenance on your plumbing, educate yourself on where the water shut off valves are located – and how to use them. Most water fixtures in your house have a shut-off valve located nearby. Every sink in your home has a valve, sometimes two for hot and cold water, underneath it. These will usually be oval chrome fixtures that you turn clockwise to shut off the water. Toilets have a similar valve underneath the tank. Bathtubs and showers must be turned off at the main water shut off valve, which sometimes has a location both outside and inside. The inside valve is usually located near the point where the water enters the home. Have a plumbing technician show you where the main valves are located on their next visit if you aren’t sure.

If you need help with your spring plumbing maintenance, the professionals at Universal Home Experts are always available to assist you. If you need help with drain cleaning, fixture service or pipe repair, our experienced staff can offer fast, efficient care. Call us at (713) 364-0226 to schedule an appointment today!