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This is West Texas so we cross our fingers when we say it. Spring is on the way. That could change in 20 minutes, of course. But it sure is wonderful to see the sunshine and feel the warmer temperatures.

With the change of season from winter to spring, here’s a few plumbing tips that you’ll find helpful as we move into March and April.

Think “spring cleaning”. Yes, your curtains and drapes are probably ready for a freshening up after a long winter. There’s some spring cleaning you can do for your plumbing, too. It’s a good time to remove the aerators and shower heads to clean out debris and mineral deposits. An old toothbrush works well for scrubbing the screens. If you have more than usual scale or mineral build up, soak the parts in white vinegar for an hour or so. Then rinse and put back on your faucets.

Clean your gutters. Give the spring rains a place to go. Get rid of all the leaves and twigs. That includes any plumbing vents. Sometimes birds can build a nest in the strangest places.

Show your water heater some love. Drain a few gallons out of it to help remove sediment. If you don’t have the instructions for your particular brand and model, these are readily available on the internet.

Speaking of water heaters, how old is yours? If you’re not sure here’s how you can tell. Look for the serial number on your unit. The first four numbers are the month and year of manufacture. If your water heater is over ten years old, consider replacing it. Especially here in West Texas where our hard water is pretty tough on water heaters. The latest water heaters are much improved in energy efficiency.

Check all the hoses on your appliances. Look for weak spots or bulges in any hoses on your dishwasher and washing machine. If you see anything that looks suspicious, it’s best to replace the hose. Older hoses can develop pinhole leaks or worse. Should a water hose break it can shoot out a lot of water in a short period of time. This can do expensive damage to your walls and flooring.

While you’re looking at your dishwasher, clean out the inside trap. Food particles can accumulate here. Clean everything out then “refresh” your machine with a wash tablet designed for that purpose.

Check all the connections under sinks. Is everything secured? Have any connections gotten loose over the winter? If so, tighten them up.

Do you have any drains in your home that aren’t used very much? Like floor drains in the garage, basement or utility room? Pour a gallon of water down these drains. It will fill up the trap and help prevent any unpleasant odors from coming back into the house.

Check all your outdoor pipes and hoses. Turn on the water and check for flow and leaks. If any of these pipes froze during the winter, it may have cracked a pipe.

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