Category: Sump Pumps & Battery Backups

Family enjoying summer fun together with a sprinkler.

Summer Plumbing Preparation Tips

Warmer weather and longer days are finally upon us here in Minnesota. As we make the official transition to summer, it’s important to make sure our plumbing is as ready for the season as we are. Use these summer plumbing preparation tips to help protect your home from major problems down the road.

Summer Plumbing Preparation Checklist

  • Test outdoor faucets and hose bibs (spigots). If any of them drip or you notice leakage inside the home the first time the hose is turned on, there may be a pipe that froze in the winter, cracked when it thawed, and needs to be replaced.
  • Clear debris from yard drains and gutters/downspouts. Pine needles, leaves, and other debris can build up in these systems over the long Minnesota winters. Be sure rain and wastewater can flow freely away from the house to prevent leaks and backups that can cause water damage.
  • Remove obstructions from sprinkler system. Clogged sprinkler heads can lead to increased water pressure and potentially burst the system’s water main. Clear any blockages now, and remember to check for dirt, grass clippings, and other obstructions throughout the season.
  • Make sure your sump pump is clean and working properly. Dump a bucket of water into the sump pit to see that it activates, safely removes the water, and shuts off without issue. Make sure the line is clear of debris and consult the owner’s manual for cleaning. Contact your local plumber if you detect any issues to prevent potential flooding.
  • Check toilets for damage and operation issues. Thoroughly inspect the bowl and tank for cracks/leaks that need to be fixed. Make sure toilets flush properly – if the handle needs to be held down for a thorough flush or frequently runs after flushing, you may need to replace worn tank parts. Make these inexpensive fixes now to prevent costly repairs or replacements later on.
  • Inspect faucets for drips or leaks. They may seem small, but the extra (and unnecessary) water use will add onto your bill. Identifying these simple repairs early on can also help prevent more expensive issues in the future.
  • Check exposed and exterior water pipes. Piping located in basements, below sinks, outdoors, and in your exterior walls are more susceptible to freezing in the winter. Make sure they’re free of cracks and leaks.
  • Test your home’s water pressure. Make note of the water pressure when you take showers or use a sink. If it’s low, there could be a leak somewhere in your system that should be addressed by a plumbing professional.
  • Schedule professional drain testing/cleaning. Clogged drains can lead to backups and other major issues, so plan ahead. We recommend homeowners have their drains tested and cleaned every two years, or sooner should they notice a problem.
  • Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor). This will fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the home, and also let you see if the drains are slow and need to be snaked or cleaned to ensure proper draining in the event of a flood.
  • Check your water heater. Make sure the temperature is no higher than 120 degrees to reduce energy use and prevent scalding water. Drain several gallons of water to flush harmful, corrosive sediment from the unit. If you notice any signs of corrosion or leaks (i.e. puddles on the floor, rust or soot by the control panel) and/or your unit is 15 years or older, consider replacing your water heater.
  • Turn the main water valve off and on. Left untouched, the valve can become difficult to turn over time. Simply close and reopen the valve to prevent its parts from sticking in place in case you ever need to shut off the supply.

While it’s impossible to guarantee you will never face plumbing issues as a homeowner, being vigilant and understanding what to look for can greatly reduce the risks. Use these summer plumbing preparation tips to help keep your home safe while you and your family enjoy the season. From inspections and installations to emergency repairs and replacements, you can rely on the master plumbers at Robillard Plumbing for all your plumbing service and product needs. Contact us to learn more.

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Prepare Your Basement for the Spring Thaw

Springtime in Minnesota is usually soggy. Between April showers and melting snow, your home could be at risk for flooding. For many homeowners, a sump pump is helpful for keeping things dry. Continue reading to find out the benefits of a sump pump and how installing one can prepare your basement for the spring thaw.

Sump Pumps 101

The American Society of Home Inspectors reported that more than 60 percent of homes have wetness below ground. A sump pump is used to extract water and excess moisture. The small device is installed at the lowest spot of a basement, cellar, or crawlspace. When water collects in a pit below the structure’s foundation, the pump drains the water out and away from the foundation.

Sump Pump Benefits

Homeowners have sump pumps installed for any number of reasons. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Prevent flooding. A sump pump moves water from one place – the sump pit – to somewhere safely away from your home’s foundation.
  • Improve indoor air quality. Mold and mildew thrive in moist basements and can be dangerous to your family’s health. Keeping your basement dry will help prevent surface fungi that can cause coughing, skin irritation, nasal congestion, and a sore throat.
  • Added value. If you’re looking to sell your home, make sure your sump pump is in proper working order. A home with a dry basement is more likely to be structurally sound, and this will help assure potential buyers.
  • Protect your investment. If you have a finished basement, investing in a sump pump can save your flooring, furniture, and appliances from potential flooding and water damage.

Do You Need One?

Not every home needs a sump pump, but it’s a wise investment for any home with a basement or if:

  • Your basement has a history of flooding issues
  • You live in a region that regularly experiences heavy rain or snow
  • You live in a flat or low-lying area on ground that freely absorbs water
  • Your basement is finished and filled with things you want to protect

Good to Know

A sump pump lasts about 10 years. If you have one that’s more than six years old, consider having it inspected by a professional to ensure it is functioning properly.

Additionally, heavy spring and summer storms can sometimes knock out your home’s power. For an added safeguard, consider a battery backup sump pump to keep things dry in the event of power failure. The cost for a backup is relatively low compared to what you could lose if your basement floods.

The trusted professionals at Robillard Plumbing are here to help make sure your basement is ready for the spring thaw. If you have questions about sump pump installation, service, or maintenance, contact us today.

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