When most people think of plumbing, they think of their sinks, toilets, showers and water heaters above all. Because they're the most essential items on a day-to-day basis, indoor plumbing maintenance is typically addressed swiftly. That said, plumbing fixtures outside the home also need some tending to. Problems that arise from neglect may be harder to spot right away, but they can cause devastation if left unaddressed.
So, for homeowners living in Reno, Nevada, here are three essential outdoor plumbing tips:
Keep your downspouts clear
It's easy for people to forget about their downspouts when they clean the gutter. Part of the reason for this is the assumption that as long as they keep the actual gutter clean, no detritus should get washed into the downspout. This is a huge mistake and can result in flooding.
To keep your downspout flowing smoothly, clear away the debris nearest to the mouth when you clean your gutter and work away from it. This will help prevent debris from getting pushed into the drainage system. Once you've finished clearing the gutter, check to see that the downspouts are also clear. If you suspect a blockage toward the center of the downspout, use a hose to try to flush it out – but don't use a power washer, as this can damage the downspout. Also, make sure that the drainage area nearest to the ground is not inhibited. If you have a downspout that goes underground and are noticing backup, it may be time to call a plumber.
Winterize your spigot
Even in a town with winters as mild as Reno, it's important to have a methodology for winterizing your outdoor water taps.
The easiest and most important piece of advice to keep in mind is to close the valve that supplies water to your outdoor faucets. Be sure that there is no water lingering in the pipes. To prevent the elements from damaging your hose, drain it of water and disconnect it.
For longer-term winterization, it's not a bad idea to insulate any exposed outdoor piping. If the spigot juts directly from the house, you can slip a thermal sleeve over it to further reduce the chances that the pipe will become damaged during a freeze.
Don't overwater your lawn
Every homeowner takes some interest in his or her lawn, some more than others. Often, this leads to the purchase or the creation of a sprinkler system, and sometimes, overuse of said system. Besides turning your front yard into a swampy mess, too much water can lead to thatch – a mix of dead and living grass – weeds like smooth crabgrass and yellow nutsedge, pests and, of course, a not-so-appealing lawn.
You water your grass deeply once or twice a week in order to avoid affecting your underground pipes. Be sure to water in the very early morning. This gives the water enough time seep into the roots before the heat evaporates it, while also ensuring that puddles or excess water won't stick around for very long.
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