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Posted by By Eric Smith on Fri Apr 26th, 2019 at 1:00 pm

It's time for a Spring cleaning because winter can leave a big mess behind

Yes, it certainly goes without saying that this has been a rough start to Spring, and its likely we'll get more than our fair share of precipitation. I know... "April showers bring May flowers", but spring showers can also bring flooding or sump pump issues. Plus, Winter damage and old pipes can be a dangerous combination, so it's important to prepare your plumbing for Spring.


Every year the Smell Good Plumbers at Austin Plumbing are summoned to emergency calls due to Winter's fury and Spring's thaw. So here's a list of helpful Spring Cleaning suggestions to help prevent an emergency in your home.


#1 - Check your sump pump & excercise it. If you have a sump pump in your basement or crawlspace, it's vital that you check and test it in the spring, and again about every 3 months afterwards. The worst thing for any pump is infrequent use. Unfortunately, many people don't find out their sump pump is broken until after the basement has already flooded. Manually running the pump can increase its life. To do this, you can pour 10 gallons of water into your sump crock. Make sure the pump turns on and pumps the water out of the house, and also inspect the piping for leaks. If the pump doesn't kick in, call Austin Plumbing! This should be done at the end of winter ensuring that if there is a pump problem, you will catch it before the pump is needed. Also, it is important to make sure sump pump discharge is at least THREE feet from the house to prevent water running down the foundation.


#2-Sump pump outlet is for sump pump ONLY. Do not use the outlet that your sump pump is plugged into for anything else because there is a chance the circuit could blow. We sometimes find de-humidifiers and other things that are plugged into or near the pump. This can potentially blow that circuit, which can cause your pump to not work when you need it. 


#3-Keep gutter/downspouts clean. The gutters and storm drains make up part of your plumbing system. These must be clean if you expect water to move easily off of your roof, preventing water damage and leaks! Also, be sure to keep the gutters exiting at least eight feet from the house. This will keep the rainwater from the roof away from the foundation. Underground downspouts clog just like normal gutters, thus they require maintenance. If the pipe ending freezes and cannot discharge properly, the blocked water flow could flood the basement and burn out your pump.


#4-Check the pipes. Exposed pipes can collect a lot of damage over the course of the winter. Water expands as it freezes, and exposed piping is at risk of expanding and contracting in winter, slowly cracking as it does. We have had clients that completely flooded their basements the first time they operate their hose bibbs in the Spring. A hose faucet can freeze and split (even if the water is shut off all winter long) if the hose was left attached or installed incorrectly. Typically they only leak when in use, so the first time you decide to water your flowers or sure to have someone in the basement to make sure there are no leaks or worse, flooding your basement. A Smell Good Plumber recommends looking around for any exposed pipes on your property, checking for signs of cracking. If you notice any problems with the pipes, call Austin Plumbing for a complete inspection.


#5-Check your faucets. Well, actually, what you're really checking for here is low water pressure. Run all of your indoor and outdoor faucets on both hot and cold settings. The pressure may take a second to adjust if the faucet hasn't been used in a while because air may have gotten into the lines, but after running the water for a few minutes the air should work it's way out and the pressure should return to normal. Low water pressure is a sign of a leak, so if you notice any of your faucets aren't running at full capacity, it's time to call a Smell Good Plumber.


The Smell Good Plumbers at Austin Plumbing wish you a happy Spring and a dry basement! But if you are experiencing any issues with your sump pump or any other plumbing related issue, please call the Smell Good Plumbers today at 262-367-3808. We're here to help!

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