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Three Signs of Springtime Plumbing Problems in South Jersey

With the warm weather settling in, it’s time for spring cleaning — and watching for signs of damaging springtime plumbing problems.

In this article, we’re covering:

  • Increasing Water Bills
  • Clogged Gutters and Downspouts
  • Low Water Pressure
  • Leaks Underneath Sinks

Now, these warning signs can pop up any time of year. But, you should keep an eye — or ear — out for them as the weather gets warm.

It’s common for drastically changing temperatures to put extra stress on pipes and other fixtures. And, problems that built up all winter can start showing up now.

So, if any sound familiar, read on to see if you need a professional or not. And stick around to the end to make sure you know how to spot problems before they start making themselves known.

Plumbing and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Even though we are isolating and practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, you still don’t want to ignore the signs of a plumbing emergency. Broadley’s is open for emergency service in South Jersey.

We’re taking every precaution to keep your family and ours safe while preventing costly and devastating water damage in your home.

Just as the virus knows no borders, water damage won’t take a break because we’re all hunkering down. So, it’s crucial to spot the signs of a problem before it gets worse.

And, if you let them go, you can end up paying thousands of dollars on top of repair costs if a pipe bursts. Or, if a slow leak cultivates mold or begins rotting away a wall, ceiling, or wooden beams.

So, don’t be afraid to call if you notice any plumbing issues. We offer teleconferencing to start, so we can try avoiding a physical visit.

Meanwhile, our techs are staying home and only leaving if they are going on a job. They’ve all been trained on the latest CDC-issued guidelines for sanitizing and avoiding transmission.

Increasing Water Bills

A sudden spike in your water bill likely means you have a plumbing problem. Somewhere more water is coming into the house. But, if you’re not using any more than normal, there’s a leak, break, or other problem somewhere.

Replacing an air conditioner in the fall can save you 6 to 8 percent of the cost

If your bill is suddenly much larger one month, start troubleshooting around the house. Hopefully, you’ll find a small problem with an easy fix.

But, be ready to call a professional. If you don’t see anything wrong, it could be in a pipe buried deep somewhere you can’t access. Or, it’s only going to get worse and cause more problems.

Clogged Gutters and Downspouts

Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause water to collect on your roof. If it builds up, it can cause all sorts of problems. That includes roof damage, leaks, mold, and rot.

It’s a common spring problem because of debris building up from the winter and fall. Leaves from nearby trees can collect in the gutters.

The waste can build up over time and cause clogs.

Ice dams are another issue: If standing water in the gutters freezes, then rainwater has nowhere to go.

When the weather gets warmer, the ice may melt. But, the damage will remain.

In both cases, standing water can begin damaging the roof by saturating it. Meanwhile, that water will find any crack, split, hole, or another opening.

Roof, Crawlspace, and Ceiling Damage

When that happens, you end up with a leak. And, it may take a while to notice. That’s especially so if you have a crawl space. The leak may take a while to show on a ceiling.

If you have an attic or loft room, you can always check there. But, don’t ignore any watermarks — especially dark ones — on your ceiling.

They’re signs of a leak. And, dark ones are signs of mold.

If leaves and debris have clogged the gutter, you need it cleaned out, or the problem will only get worse. If that stuff is packed in there, you’ll need a professional plumber with an auger to get it out.

Low Water Pressure

A common sign of plumbing problems is low water pressure throughout the entire house. Sometimes you don’t notice it, especially if other people are using the water at the same time.

But, noticing consistently weak water flow means something’s up.

Among other things, low water pressure can be caused by:

  • Water main not turned all the way on
  • Leaks or damage to pipes
  • A clog or debris in a pipe

Water Main Not Turned All the Way On

This is a problem we see much more often down the shore than anywhere else. And, it’s a simple one to fix: You didn’t turn the water all the way back on from the main.

People with vacation properties and second homes should turn off the water before they leave at the end of summer.

When they return in spring, it’s easy to turn the water on, but not open the valve all the way. Then, you’ll notice weak water pressure.

So, your first step to checking this problem is to make sure that the valve is all the way open. With any luck, you’ve solved the problem yourself!

Clog or debris in a pipe

Mineral or other deposits over time will clog any pipe. The one coming into your house is no exception. Of course, these are usually well-filtered. But, they also stay in service for decades.

Eventually, you can get a buildup. If you’ve done your troubleshooting and are coming up short, it’s time to call a professional.

This is a problem that won’t get better on its own. And it’s not the only problem you can have with your main water pipe.

Leaks or Damage to Pipes

Pipes don’t last forever. If you have an old house, those old fixtures will eventually corrode and spring leaks. Since they’re underground, you can’t see them. But, a sign of damage is low water pressures.

It’s occurring because some of the water flowing into the pipes isn’t making it to the house. Instead, it’s leaking out along the way.

Like many other problems, it can happen at any time. But, drastically shifting temperatures, plus any ice or freezing from the winter, can add extra stress.

And, in many cases, you won’t see an increase in your water bills.

If the leak occurs before the water reaches your meter, it’s not registering for your bill. The good news is you don’t pay for the water you don’t use. But, the bad news is that it makes it harder to spot the problem.

Water Damage Under Sinks or in Cabinets

You may not notice this on your own right away. Small links under a sink are often out of sight and out of mind. But, they can happen for a variety of reasons. So, any spring cleaning regimen should include a quick peek under there..

Your two main culprits are clogs and loosened hoses or pipes. They can happen any time, but they’re also common after the winter.

People do a lot of holiday cooking late in the year. And you’re home most of the time in the cold weather.

It’s a great time to make home-cooked meals instead of ordering or dining out.

That adds up to lots of fat and grease down the drain. Eventually, it clogs the pipes or traps.

Eventually, a backup can cause a leak as water looks for a way to escape.

Washing Machine and Dishwasher Hoses

Meanwhile, hoses from dishwashers or washing machines can become loose over time. It’s easy to happen if you’ve knocked them around, pulling out cleaning products or other supplies from under the sink.

In both these cases, you can have a slow drip. It probably won’t make your bill increase, because at that point it’s water on the way out, not coming in.

But, you don’t want to be caught off-guard by a sudden whiff of mold or mildew under there. Or, a shelf, vanity, or closet suddenly collapsing from soaking wet, rotted wood.

So, take a look as the weather gets warmer. Make sure nothing’s damp, and you don’t see any leaking or standing water.

And, if you do notice a problem — under the sink or anywhere else — call Broadley’s right away. Even as we’re practicing social distancing, the last thing you want is water damage in your home while you’re staying inside as much as possible.