Here in the Grand Canyon State, we don’t see many days when the temperature dips below freezing. When we do, it’s usually just overnight, and it certainly isn’t for more than a few days. Not all plumbing problems are caused by frozen pipes, however. Despite our mild winters, there are a few tasks you should undertake to maintain worry-free plumbing all year long.

1. Drain the Water Heater

Many Arizona residents have hard water, which carries a high mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium. These minerals form deposits that can lead to rust in your water heater, as well as clogged plumbing. If your water heater is already rusted or old, you may begin seeing rust in your bath or drinking and cooking water. Winter is a good time to drain the water heater and check for rust and mineral buildup.

2. Stay Alert to Water Softness

If you don’t like the taste or what hard water can do to your plumbing, you may have installed a water softener. It can be difficult to spot problems with this appliance right away because it doesn’t affect your water temperature, and you may not notice a change in taste right away. A few clues you may have a problem include:

  • Appliances: Mineral buildup can affect kitchen appliances, coating the walls of the dishwasher or the ice maker. It coats rubber seals as well as hard plastic and metal parts and can cause leaks or mold buildup. Look for small water pools around appliances as a sign of trouble with the water softener.
  • Dry skin: Our climate is drying all by itself, but hard water adds to the problem. It can leave a film on anything it touches, including you. The minerals left on your skin drain its moisture and cause it to itch. If you notice your skin is drier than usual or experience itchiness, it could be the softener.
  • Soap isn’t soapy: Hard water hampers the lathering process, which you will notice when you’re taking a shower or running clothes through the washer. Without proper suds, your clothes and dishes do not come as clean.

3. Don’t Wait to Fix Leaks

Remember, leaks may be a sign of hard-water deposits that have clogged plumbing. If you spot a problem, get it fixed promptly; it will only get worse if you wait and cost more in utilities until it’s fixed.

While Arizona may not see the harsh winters common in New England, that doesn’t mean your plumbing is in the clear. Take advantage of our sunny winters and use them to give your plumbing a thorough checkup.