Have you ever gone on an extended vacation, came home and immediately turned on a faucet or shower? Most of us don’t think twice about it. Water in your pipes sits stagnant the entire time you were away and flushing your pipes is highly recommended.
A plumber’s trick is to put mineral oil down your drain before leaving on an extended trip. If you haven’t done this, there are steps you can take to ensure that your water is safe to use.
A biofilm is a group of microorganisms that live together and release a slimy, glue-like substance. This material, often made up of bacteria, fungi and amebas, allows them to stick to surfaces. Potentially harmful germs can grow in the presence of biofilm, which is more likely to spread where there is standing water. If you have been gone for more than a week, flush your faucet and showerheads before using them for the first time.
- Cold Water: Open the tap fully and allow to run for 5 minutes.
- Hot Water: Run the tap until the water feels hot.
Low Water Pressure
If the flow of water coming out of your fixtures seems to be reduced, debris and sediment could be the issue.
- Old pipes made out of iron can rust.
- Small particles find their way down the drain.
- Limescale deposits build up if you have hard water.
Start by rinsing your aerators. Then flush the pipes by running 3-4 cold water faucets at full force. Do this for 20 minutes. Turning on the outdoor faucet is also an option to help the flushing process.
In cases where a house has been vacant for weeks or months, mold, Legionella and lead/copper contamination can occur. To ensure that your plumbing is safe to use, follow these steps:
- Hot Water: Open all hot water taps and run for 15 minutes.
- Cold Water: Open all cold water taps and run for 5 minutes.
- Toilets: Flush each toilet at least once.
- Appliances: Flush according to the type of appliance and manufacturer guidelines.
- Remaining Fixtures: Open hose bibs and external faucets for at least 5 minutes.
Remember to replace any water filters that you have after flushing your pipes. Refer to your owner’s manual if you have a water conditioning system or water softener.
In the event the house has been vacant for more than a few weeks, it is always a good idea to have a camera inspection done on your exterior drain lines. Bacteria and fungi can multiply and result in grime that sticks to pipes. Hydro jetting is the best way to remove anything that doesn’t belong in your pipes.