In 2019, severe weather caused so much flooding in Canada that it led to $1.3 billion in insured damage losses. In the GTA alone, winter storms were the biggest culprit behind these losses.
That makes water damage as one of, if not the biggest threat to Canadian homes.
Severe weather isn't your only enemy though -- faulty plumbing can also cause water damage. This is why it's best for Mississauga homeowners to follow a Mississauga spring plumbing maintenance plan. Spring is the best time to get your plumbing pipes back in tip-top condition.
To help you get started, we've rounded up some of the best plumbing tips you should follow once spring rolls in.
1. Insulate Sweating Pipes
Under the right conditions, it could take as little as 24 to 48 hours for mold to grow and spread. Such conditions can include excess moisture and a humidity level of more than 70%.
The thing is, the relative humidity (RH) level in Mississauga, Ontario averages 81%. While September is usually the most humid, the city's RH doesn't budge down from 80% throughout July-March.
This means that your sweaty plumbing pipes can be a trigger for molds to grow at home. That "sweat" on your pipes is actually condensation. It occurs when the hot, moist outside air comes into contact with your cold pipes.
In short, it’s usually during spring and summer when you’re most likely to see sweating pipes.
That said, if you see water droplets all over your water pipes, take that as a sign of sweating plumbing. Be sure, however, that it's actual condensation and not leaks. Leaks usually affect a specific area, while sweating affects the entire length of a pipe.
If you do have sweaty pipes, self-adhesive pipe sleeves can help protect them. Pipe insulation isn't only a great way to winterize your plumbing -- it also helps keep sweating at bay. You'll easily find these products at hardware shops and improvement stores.
2. Get Those Leaks Fixed
One study found that leaky pipes, faucets and toilets in Ontario waste about 25% of the province's drinking water. Not only is that a complete waste of precious sustenance -- it also translates to $700 million down the drain.
Your Mississauga home may be contributing to this loss, even if you only have a single leaky tap. If that faucet has a leak rate of 6 drops per minute, it could waste up to 1,200 litres of water within a year. So, imagine how much more water you could be wasting if you have more than one leaky tap.
As such, one of the most important plumbing tips for spring is to perform a whole-house leak check. The fastest way to determine if you have a leak is to run a water meter test.
Most homes in Mississauga have a water meter installed in the basement. It may be along the lower part of your front wall, near the floor junction. You may also find it in your laundry room or basement washroom.
Once you've located your water meter, turn off all the taps and make sure no one uses the water while you do the test. At this point, the meter's gauge should have stopped moving. If, after half an hour, the numbers have changed, then that means you have a leak.
If you can’t determine the source of the leak, it’s likely from a leaking water treatment device, a silent leaking toilet, a pipe under the floor or inside the wall. Your best bet is to contact your local plumbing leak repair specialists.
3. Give Your Drains a Spring Test
In winter, some drains do take a longer time, especially if they have "frozen" FOG (fat, oil, and grease). Once spring rolls in, FOG build-up may (hopefully) thaw and allow for efficient draining. Note, however, that you should never pour these things down the drain.
In any case, spring and summer are the best seasons to test your drains' actual health. This way, you'll have an idea of which areas in your home have badly-clogged drains and sewer lines.
Start the test by running the hot water tap in each of your sinks. If the water drains fast, great. If it doesn't or if you hear gurgling sounds from the sink drain, then that likely means you have clogs.
For minor clogs, you may be able to get away with using a plunger or a plumber’s snake - but never use a drain cleaning solution. The hazardous chemicals can damage your pipes.
If you have clogs that don’t clear no matter how many times you pump your plunger, get in touch with your local trusted Mississauga plumbers. While there ask for a main drainline video camera inspection to ensure your line is clear and problem free.
4. Set Up Drain Screens
A great way to protect your drains from debris is by using drain screens. Drain screens help filter out unwanted items such as small pieces of food to FOG to hair, all oh which shouldn't end up in your drains and sewer lines.
So, if you haven't used drain screens ever, now is the best time to. They're super cheap and easy to install -- just place them over the drain hole. Screens with finer mesh are more efficient in catching debris, but they do take a longer time to drain water. It is up to you to determine the perfect size for your home.
5. Test Outdoor Taps and Sprinklers
If you're like 57% of Canadians, then you look forward to spring to get your fruits and veggies growing at home. Unfortunately, the previous season may have iced up your outdoor plumbing components. The super-low temps may have caused them to crack, buckle, or sustain other damages.
So, before the planting season begins, inspect all your outdoor taps and sprinklers. Open the faucets to see which ones have gotten stuck. Check your sprinklers to see if their sprays are coming out right or if something is clogging them.
It’s best that you replace faulty water fixtures, especially those that receive a lot of sun exposure. The heat may further damage them and cause them to develop leaks.
6. Inspect Your Lawn for Unusual Wet Spots
Once the warmer season rolls in, frozen pipes will begin to thaw and allow water to pass freely. However, if the pipes have burst due to overexpansion, then that water will leak out of the cracks. All pipes are prone to freezing, but the ones outside your home are even more susceptible.
As such, one of the most crucial spring plumbing tips is to check your lawn or garden for wet or damp spots. If you see water pooling over a specific area, take that as a sign of a burst pipe. The same is likely true for areas of your garden that appear healthier than the rest.
If you notice any of these signs, get in touch with your local Mississauga water line repair pros. They have the equipment to check leaking water lines -- even those that are underground.
7. Flush Your Hot Water Heater
The average Canadian uses about 75 litres of hot water every single day. This hot water use, of course, spikes up during the winter season.
The thing is, heating causes the minerals in water to separate from the water molecules. These stray minerals can then settle and harden at the bottom of your hot water heater tank. Some of these loose minerals can also attach themselves to the sides of the tank.
Over time, these minerals can form scaling inside your tank and render it less efficient. They can also cause premature wear and tear on your hot water heater.
Things can get worse if you have hard water, which is water that contains a lot of calcium carbonate. Unfortunately, Mississauga has moderately hard water. A great idea would be to get a complete home water treatment system installed to protect your fixtures, appliances and more importantly YOU!
So, as part of your Mississauga spring plumbing maintenance, be sure to flush your hot water heater tank. This will help get rid of the stray sediments floating around inside your tank. This can help prevent them from settling and become hardened deposits.
8. Release Water Heater Tank Pressure Using Its TPR Valve
As you give your water heater tank a spring cleaning, be sure to check its TPR valve too. TPR stands for temperature and pressure relief. It's a crucial safety device in water heaters as it "relieves" excess pressure inside the tank.
Sometimes, TPR valves can get stuck, especially during the cold Mississauga winters. This is especially true if they've sprung a leak, which could then lead to the water freezing up. It's best to monitor your TPR valve during the cold season, but be sure to test it in the spring too.
A fully-functional TPR valve should be easy to pull, push, or open. Doing so will release some water and air pressure, so make sure you have a bucket ready under the tank. This will also help keep your pipes and water lines healthy as it will help drain some of the sediments in your tank.
If your TPR valve is stuck or if it has sprung a leak, call for Mississauga water heater repair service. Faulty TPR valves can be dangerous, as they won't be able to release excess pressure from the tank. Too much pressure can, although rare, lead to tank explosions.
9. Test Your Toilets
Speaking of flushing, check your toilets for malfunctioning flushes. A toilet that leaks can waste up to 20 cubic meters of water every day, which can cost over $80!
A solid sign that you have a leaky toilet is if you hear it constantly running. This means that it's flushing, even if no one is using it. Failed seals and flappers are the most common culprits behind these water wasters.
You can also check the sides of the toilet bowl -- if there's water running down, that's also a sign of a leak. You can confirm this further by adding a few drops of liquid food colouring in your toilet tank. Wait 15 to 30 minutes -- if the water in your toilet bowl is now coloured, then you do have a leaking toilet tank.
It's easy to replace a failed flapper and you can buy a replacement from a hardware store. If you don't have time to DIY, or if you have more than one leak issue, then it's best to hire local plumbers instead.
10. Give Your Plumbing Vent Pipes Some Spring Cleaning Too
Your home's plumbing vent pipes connect to several of your plumbing fixtures. These pipes vent sewer gases from your drain pipes, while also letting fresh air get into such pipes.
The thing is, vent pipes often extend all the way beyond the roof. Meaning, part of their opening gets exposed to the freezing temps (and snow) of the winter season. As such, they can get clogged with ice, as well as frozen vegetation.
Clogging in vents will affect the draining efficiency of the drains that connect to them. This is another possible reason you have slow drains in the winter. If solid debris also gets in your plumbing vents though, your woes will continue all year long.
So, as soon as spring arrives, be sure to have your plumbing vents inspected for blockages. Your friendly Mississauga plumbers will thoroughly clean your vents too.
Keep Your Drains and Pipes in Great Condition With These Mississauga Spring Plumbing Tips
There you have it, the only list of Mississauga spring plumbing tips you'll ever need to follow as soon as the warmer season rolls in. In fact, you can do many of these preventative tips during each of the four seasons. The most important thing, however, is to know your DIY limitations.
For more complex plumbing issues, it's best to leave them in the hands of Mississauga plumbers. This way, you don't have to rely on "band-aid" fixes that won't treat the root cause of the problem. Besides, some short-term DIY repairs may just make your plumbing woes worse.
Suffering from high water bills or multiple clogged drains? If so, Mr Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga ON is here to help! Get in touch with us today to receive courteous service from our local licensed plumbers!