How Arizonans and Snowbirds Can Avoid October Surprises
It’s that time of year: snowbirds start flocking to the Valley and Phoenicians come out of summer hibernation. Both rituals can lead to October surprises – not the political kind, but the water kind.
“Many snowbirds have been away from their Arizona homes for six months or more,” says Mike Donley, president of family-owned Donley Service Center. “That’s why we recommend three quick steps to avoid a plumbing emergency.”
· Flush toilets to remove stagnant water and run water in sinks and showers for several minutes.
· Fill the garbage disposal with ice cubes followed by a cup of rock salt or vinegar. Turn on water and the disposal. The ice will break up rust or corrosion on the blades.
· Flush the water heater to remove sediment and other buildup inside the tank.
“October is also a good time for Phoenicians to check for water leaks,” Donley says. “As people plant winter grass they use more water and leaks may be less obvious on their water bills.”
How to Check Toilets
· Small leaks that you can’t see can waste 10,000 gallons a year.
· Check for leaks by adding a few drops of food coloring in the tank.
· Put the lid back on and do not flush.
· Wait 15 minutes. If the color appears in the bowl, you have a leak and it’s most likely the flush valve or flapper.
· Flapper problems are fairly common. If the chain is too tight, it’ll keep the flapper slightly open and water will leak out of the tank. If the flapper is broken the water level in the tank will keep dropping and it will sound like the toilet is constantly flushing.
How to Check Faucets
· First, see if the spout is dripping. If it is, you may need to tighten the handle’s adjusting ring.
· If that doesn’t work, you can shut off the water valves, which are usually under the sink. Turn on the faucet to drain water from the line.
· Remove the screw cover on the faucet handle and use a screwdriver to lift off the actual handle. If your faucet has a hex screw, you’ll need to use an Allen wrench to remove it.
· After lifting the handle you’ll see a cap and adjusting ring. If water is leaking, tighten the ring with pliers. Check to see if that stopped the leak.
· If not, you may need to replace the faucet’s seats and springs or call a professional.
About Donley Service Center
Jim and Mike Donley and their employees have been providing honest, caring service to Arizonans since 1976. Family-owned Donley Service Center has twice been honored with the Better Business Bureau’s Ethics Award. Donley technicians receive ongoing training to provide the most comprehensive service for air conditioning, plumbing, heating, sewer repair, maintenance management and solar hot water. www.donleyservice.com