With the kids at home for summer vacation, getting things done around the house— even minor repairs—can be difficult. Now that they’re back at school, it’s the perfect time to get plumbing repairs done and ensure all the routine maintenance is taken care of too. By getting the work done now, you’ll ensure your home is in great shape for the busy holiday season. Our back-to-school plumbing checklist takes plumbing maintenance room-by-room and makes it easy!
The kitchen tends to be a place where family gathers when people are home. And when school starts and prep for breakfast and school lunches happen at the same time most mornings, it gets even busier!
By keeping the garbage disposal and dishwasher in good working order, you’ll stay way ahead of any plumbing problems on a busy school morning!
Garbage Disposal Unit
The kitchen garbage disposal is certain to see heavy use during the school year, so right now is a great time to perform routine maintenance tasks. Vinegar, citrus fruit peels, and baking soda are all good options to for cleaning and deodorizing the unit.
Two easy recipes:
1. Baking Soda & Vinegar
Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the disposal.
Chase it with 1 cup of vinegar.
Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then run the water to flush the mixture out.
Note: Vinegar should be used only rarely, as it’s an acid and may corrode rubber disposal components if used too often.
2. Citrus Fruit
Cut a piece of citrus fruit into wedges.
Turn on the water and the disposal unit, then toss the wedges one at a time into the drain. Citrus oils help clean the unit and make it smell fresher too.
Just like laundry appliances, the dishwasher has a hose that can become clogged or may crack with age. Check the hoses regularly to make sure they’re in good condition, and replace the hose if it’s more than three years old.
Save energy and water by running the dishwasher only when it’s full. Or choose the half-load option if you need to run it while the little ones sleep, so you have cereal bowls in the morning!
The bathroom sees a lot of traffic on weekday mornings once school starts. Back-to-back water usage of the shower, sink, and toilet within a short time puts pressure on drains, making them vulnerable to blockages. Take a little bit of time to make sure all bathroom drains are clear and running freely to reduce the risk of backups when you need your appliances most.
The best way to clear bathroom drains is with a plumber’s auger, a manually controlled drain snake. You can buy these at any home improvement store, and they’re easy to use.
If you don’t have time for drain cleaning or just want the peace of mind that comes with a professional checkup, call us! Our expert drain maintenance will put your system in tip-top shape for the school year.
Humidity is another potential problem once the bathroom starts seeing heavy use in the mornings. Remember to run bathroom fans long enough to clear moisture out of the bathroom each day. This helps prevent mold and mildew growth on the walls and reduces the risk of long-term moisture problems.
What with school clothes and sports uniforms, the washer and dryer kick into overdrive during back to school season! Now is a good time to make sure they’re in great shape. Perform routine maintenance tasks such as cleaning the lint trap in the dryer and checking the washer hose for cracks.
If it’s been three years or more since you last replaced the laundry hoses, then make it a priority to get this done. Just like drains get clogged with soap scum and other debris, the same can happen to laundry hoses, increasing the risk of blockage and flooding.
4. Hot Water System
Everybody wants a hot shower on a school day—usually in the morning! Make sure there’s enough hot water for everyone, and you’ll be a hero among parents. But this can be a chore, especially for a large family.
To ensure everyone gets hot water when they want it, suggest staggering shower times, so there’s an interval of 15 minutes between each shower. This may mean you take the earliest shower, or it could mean a few family members get to wind down with a hot shower in the evening. The change will do your plumbing system and your wallet good: Your water heater will have enough time to build up a new supply of hot water—ready on-demand.
Check the Hot Water Temperature
If you have young children, check the hot water temperature to ensure it’s no higher than 120 degrees. This makes it safer and more comfortable for kids just starting to shower and bathe on their own.
Drain the Water Heater
If you’ve staggered showers, and it still seems there isn’t enough hot water for everyone’s needs, there may be a buildup of sediment in your water heater, if it’s an old one. Draining the tank might help solve this problem.
To do so:
- Turn off the power that supplies the water heater.
- Turn off the cold water supply to the heater.
- Turn on a hot water faucet – This prevents a vacuum forming in the pipes.
- Connect a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the water tank.
- Run the other end of the hose to a drain.
- Open the spigot on the tank.
- Open the pressure relief valve on top of the tank – Hot water may drain out at this point; take care to avoid it.
- Drain the tank.
- Once it’s empty, turn the cold water supply back on, and run it for a few minutes to flush out remaining sediment. When you’re satisfied the water is running clear, turn off the cold water again.
- Close the drain valve and remove the hose, then close the pressure relief valve.
- Turn off the hot water faucet.
- Restore the cold water supply, and let the tank fill up.
- Once the tank is full, open the pressure relief valve to let any air out of the tank.
- Restore the power to the water heater.
- After about 30 minutes, run a hot water faucet to check that hot water has been restored.
If you’d rather leave this process to the professionals, feel free to call C&W Plumbing. We can do this and other water heater maintenance work quickly and with minimal disruption, so you’re free to get on with your day.
Switch to a Tankless Water Heater?
If you regularly run out of hot water on busy weekday mornings, it might be time to consider a tankless hot water heater! It heats up water on demand, so you don’t have to rely on your tank’s hot water capacity any longer. You’ll have a never-ending supply of hot water, and because you’re only heating water when it’s needed, you’ll have lower energy costs too.
Got a Plumbing Problem? C&W is Here to Help!
Back-to-school season is upon us! Use our back-to-school plumbing checklist to prioritize the plumbing work that needs to be done and get ahead of the game for the holidays. Need somebody else to take control? Call C&W Plumbing! We’ll take some of the stress out of the new school year.
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