Your Annual Plumbing and Heating Checklist

While it’s nice to own a home, having one comes with regular maintenance such as completing an annual plumbing and heating checklist. Although the task at hand is quite simple, it’s even easier to put these tasks off since they do require time and effort — but doing so can cost you down the road.

To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive annual plumbing and heating checklist. Follow it to keep your home systems in good working order.

Start with the Furnace

A properly-installed furnace will operate efficiently and effectively. Signs that yours isn't working as it should include:

  • Higher than usual utility bills
  • Unusual odors
  • Strange sounds

To keep your unit functioning efficiently and prevent high utility bills, our annual plumbing and heating checklist includes completing furnace maintenance tasks. These consist of changing out the air filter once a month, making sure that the working parts are lubricated, and that the exterior section of the unit is free of debris.

Take Note of Odd Smells

The smell of gas or other unusual odor is a tell-tale sign that your heating system is failing. If you smell gas, then your unit is beginning to break down or may already be completely broken. The second that you notice this odor, be sure to turn your furnace off because it could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Pay Attention to Strange Sounds

Strange sounds also mean that there’s something going on with your furnace, something not good. In this case, you may hear knocking noises or pops. This is often caused by a loose part or a broken piece in your furnace. Anytime you hear something that’s out of the norm with your furnace, be sure to call a furnace company to check it out.

Keep it Clean

Keep your furnace in good shape by examining the system for leaks or corrosion. It’s also a good idea to:

  • Clean the flue pipe
  • Check the unit’s heat anticipator and look over the heat exchanger to see if it’s leaking
  • Inspect the system’s connections and wiring

If you spot soot deposits, clean them. Check the furnace’s amperage, or oil, if it’s needed to operate the unit.

You may need to tighten electrical connections and lubricate the unit’s moving parts. Clean the pilot light assembly, and adjust the pilot light, if needed. Make sure that the thermostat and its contacts are working properly.

When you’re checking your furnace, it’s also a good idea to:

  • Change your smoke detector batteries
  • Check the carbon monoxide detector
  • Clean the air registers or baseboard radiators
  • Make sure that your furnace has enough ventilation

The thing about catching furnace problems early on is that you may be able to avoid expensive repairs or an all-out furnace replacement. If this checklist seems a bit extensive and you don’t have the time to complete it, then contact a professional heating and plumbing company. A technician will have the know-how to inspect your furnace and your home’s plumbing system.

Now, the Water Heater

As with furniture and vehicles, water heaters must be replaced every so often. While this is one of those appliances that tends to operate consistently, there are a few signs that yours is on its way out. These signs include:

  • Leaking around the base
  • No hot water coming out of your faucets
  • Frequent repairs

If you spot water seeping from the base of your water heater, it’s leaking. This happens when the tank becomes corroded. Water heaters that are running fine sometimes drip a little, but if you see a large amount of water, then the unit is leaking and likely needs to be replaced.

Signs You Need a Replacement

When it comes to water heaters, the appliance may fade gradually. Signs that this is happening is a lack of hot water coming out of your faucets. If your tank is reaching geriatric age, then it may take a little longer to deliver hot water to your faucets than it used to, but it is still functioning effectively. If this happens more than you’re comfortable with, then start searching for a replacement.

Why Replace a Water Heater

A major benefit of replacing your hot water heater is that a new one may decrease your utility bills. New units have better technology, which means that they operate more efficiently than old ones. This is good for the environment since you’ll be using less water.

If you need to replace it, consider going with a tankless unit. These are the most energy-efficient of all hot water heaters since they heat water as you need it instead of keeping water heated 24/7. Along with being more cost-effective, tankless units never run out of hot water. They also save space, so if you have a smaller home, then this is a good way to give yourself more room.

Water Heater Maintenance

Maintain your water heater by draining the tank and washing out the built-up sediment regularly. Once the water is drained out, eliminate the sediment on the bottom of the tank by stirring it up. Then, open the unit’s cold-water supply valve. Continue doing this until there is no more sediment coming out of the hose. Close up the draincock and fill the tank back up with water. Once filled, you can power it on again.

You should also consider insulating your home’s water heater with an insulation blanket. We recommend using foil-covered bubble wrap. Be sure to protect the side of the tank, but don’t cover the top of an oil or gas water heater.

Test the unit’s temperature-pressure-release valve by lifting the tab to release a small amount of water. If it continues to drip out after you let the valve go, then your tank needs a new one.

General Plumbing Checklist

Pay attention to your drains. If you have one or more that’s slow to drain water, then it probably has a small blockage. Clearing them out (blockages) when they first develop can help you avoid calling a professional plumber later on.

Your annual plumbing checklist should include a professional sewer line inspection. When a sewer main backs up, this can be costly and disruptive. Often, things like tree roots, pipe breaks, and misaligned pipes will result in backed-up sewer lines. An inspection can catch the problem early on so you can have it fixed before major damage happens.

Preventing Pipes from Freezing

When winter arrives, the season’s cold temperatures can cause your plumbing pipes to freeze. This isn’t something that is likely to happen overnight, but if you fail to protect your pipes, then you could be facing an expensive repair.

Insulate Your Pipes

To protect them, cover your pipes with pipe sleeves. You can find this product at your local home improvement store. In addition to stopping them from freezing, these pipe covers are easy to install. They will help you avoid costly repairs by preventing the water damage that can occur when plumbing pipes break.

Leave the Heat On

Another way to prevent your plumbing pipes from freezing is to keep them warm. The only time that you need to worry about this is if you flee for warmer weather when winter arrives. If you are fortunate to spend the winter near the beach, then be sure to leave the heat on in your main residence.

Fix Leaks Fast

Our annual heating and plumbing checklist includes examining your pipes. If you notice any leaks, take a few minutes to repair them. Keep in mind that if your shower head or a kitchen faucet is dripping water, it could be costing you more than you know by increasing your annual water bill. Replacing a worn-out washer is easy to do. The task is also inexpensive.

Still Not Working Properly?

Have you gone through our annual plumbing and heating checklist but are still finding out that your plumbing and/or heating systems aren’t working to par? If so, call Proactive Comfort today. Our number is (603) 239-2346, and when you contact us, you’ll receive expert heating and repair service in Manchester, NH. We also serve other local areas throughout Hooksett, Nashua and Hillsborough County.

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