The temperatures are finally warming. The ground is thawing, and spring is finally on the way, but if you’re a property manager, superintendent, or building owner in Chicago, now is the time to think about spring plumbing maintenance both inside your building and outside. To help you accomplish all of your spring plumbing maintenance items, we’ve created a handy 7 point spring plumbing checklist.

1. Check for Plumbing Leaks

The first step to any spring plumbing maintenance plan is to check for leaks in plumbing pipes. If you have a basement with exposed pipes, you can check them visually. You can also walk around your building, looking for water spots and yellow or brown stains on walls and ceilings, which could indicate a leak behind the wall.

However, to be certain that your plumbing system is in good condition, you’ll likely need to have a plumbing inspection. Plumbing inspections are performed with a small camera that fits inside your pipes. This camera illuminates the inside of the pipe and displays the images on a screen above ground. It also records the images onto a disk so that they can be inspected later. Plumbing inspections are great for determining plumbing pipe corrosion levels, the age of the pipes, and if there are any leaks, cracks, or holes that need to be immediately repaired in order to stop water damage and prevent blowouts.

2. Inspect Your Drain Pipes

Next, have your drain pipes inspected. Drain pipes are notorious for getting full and partial clogs. If you’ve had a lot of maintenance requests for slow drains, you may have numerous clogs in your system. If your entire building’s drain system is slow, the clog may be in the main sewer line between your building and the city’s sewer pipes. Drain lines can also be inspected via a camera inspection that looks for clogs, breaks, and cracks as well as tree roots.

3. Inspect Boilers and Water Heaters

Once you’ve finished inspecting all your plumbing pipes, it’s time to take a deep look at any boilers or water heaters that may be in your building. For commercial and large residential buildings that use boilers, those boilers often also provide hot water to sinks, dishwashers, showers, and washing machines. In the spring, we recommend getting your boiler and any water heaters professionally inspected and cleaned in order to remove any scale buildup and debris that may have entered the system since your last inspection and/or repair. Having these items cleaned, inspected, and repaired helps ensure they are working properly and maximizes their expected useful lives.

4. Inspect Water-Using Appliances and Fixtures

A majority of leaks and plumbing problems occur in water-using appliances like toilets, sinks, showers, bathtubs, dishwashers, and washing machines. Check all hoses and fittings for leaks and corrosion. Check along the base of toilets for leaks in the seal and tanks. Check showers and bathtubs for cracks that way allow water through the fixture and onto the floor beneath. If you’re not using water-saving devices like low-flow showerheads and aerators, consider replacing showerheads and sink aerators with low-flow versions while you’re performing your inspections. If you have a little more money in your maintenance and upgrade budget, consider also replacing toilets with low-flow toilets.

5. Inspect Water Pumps, Including Sump Pumps, and Water Storage Tanks

Buildings with basements and buildings with multiple floors often have various types of water pumps connected to their plumbing systems. Sump pumps help keep water out of basements and crawlspaces. Water pumps help move water from the lower floors to the upper floors, and water storage tanks on rooftops help keep the system pressurized in order to prevent low water pressure situations. All of these components should be inspected, then repaired, or replaced if they show signs of age or damage.

6. Inspect Sprinkler Systems and Outdoor Spigots

Next, take a walk around your building and across your property. Inspect all outdoor water spigots for leaks, drips, and damage. Replace or repair any damaged outdoor water spigots. Then walk across your property and inspect all outdoor sprinklers for drips and leaks. Also, look for puddles in the yard that weren’t caused by rain. These puddles could indicate a leak in your sprinkler system’s underground pipes.

7. Garage and Parking Lot Drains

Check your garage and parking lot drains for debris and remove them. Twigs, dirt, trash, and leaves can get stuck on the grates and just inside the system, causing water to drain slowly or back up into your parking garage or parking lot. You can also have your garage and parking lot drains hydro jetted, which removes all the debris throughout the entire system so that water flows freely.

Benefits of Spring Plumbing Maintenance

Spring plumbing maintenance helps you control water costs and prevent water damage in your building and on your property. It also keeps your residents, employees, and visitors happy because all the plumbing pipes, water fixtures, and water-using appliances work as expected. Not to mention, you’ll also maximize the useful lives of your water pipes and appliances and prevent the need for premature replacement.

Consider Epoxy Pipelining with Nu Flow, Serving Chicago and the Greater Chicago Area

If you want to further increase the useful lives of your potable water pipes, drain pipes, parking lot, and garage drainage system, consider epoxy pipelining. Lining your pipes with epoxy helps seal small leaks and cracks. The process also involves thoroughly cleaning all the pipes that are to be lined, which means they’ll have their maximum internal diameters for the best possible water flow. It’s also less invasive and costly than a full pipe replacement and can extend the useful lives of your plumbing pipes by as much as 35 to 50 years.

To learn more about pipelining and how it can stop leaks and extend the useful life of your plumbing system, contact us at 815-790-9000.