Just like you switch up your wardrobe when the weather starts to get cooler, it is important to keep up with seasonal house plumbing basics. Implementing fall plumbing tips will keep you prepared for the freezing weather ahead and help you avoid potential plumbing problems in the future. As winter looms, homeowners’ biggest concern from a plumbing perspective is freezing temperatures, ice, and related damage.
These fall plumbing tips will prepare your home for the colder weather, so you can get back to enjoying football, putting on your favorite cozy sweater, and appreciating the beauty of the falling leaves. The chilly fall temperatures serve as a gentle reminder of the harsher weather conditions winter will bring. If you don’t take action, you could face some big headaches and costly repairs once winter hits.
Around the Yard
Disconnect your water hoses from faucets before they freeze onto the pipe. We want your garden hoses to last another year, so it is important that you properly store them away. After you disconnect the hose, drain the water and place it in an area of your home to keep it from freezing like your basement or garage. A connected, frozen hose could damage the faucet or pipes, and could even cause it to burst!
Shut off valves for outside faucets. It is important that you know where to locate your water shut-off valve. These valves cut off all water from your outdoor spigots. Your home may be equipped with an interior shut-off valve that is connected to the outside faucets and plumbing. Shut off the interior valve and open the outdoor faucet valve to ensure there is no remaining water in the line that could freeze. If you do not have either of these shut-off valves, just make sure the faucet is not dripping or leaking as that water could freeze and cause a burst and breakage.
Cover and insulate faucets to protect them from the bitter cold. Outdoor faucets and pipes should be covered and ideally insulated. Direct contact between a faucet or pipe with the bitter cold winter air can risk plumbing exposure to rapid temperature decreases and freeze. This freezing can lead to a broken pipe, which could cause flooding or other plumbing nightmares.
Clean out gutters and downspouts as a preventative measure to channel rain away from your home. If water floods or accumulates anywhere, it will eventually freeze. Freezing water can create breakages, roof damage, flooding, and a variety of other issues.
Seal any gaps between walls and pipes where they enter your home. These gaps allow for cold air to enter your home, which can significantly impact your heating bill and even cause your pipes to freeze. Spend some time reviewing the areas where pipes enter your home and seal the gaps with weather stripping, caulking, and insulation.
Garage or Other Unheated Interior Areas
Check for potential leaks or gutter overflow/flood points. Once water begins to freeze in the winter, it begins to expand. Standing water in your garage can be a very dangerous hazard for slips. This is an important step to preventing frozen pipes before they happen.
Insulate or cover exposed piping to minimize the possibility of frozen pipes. It is a common misconception that piping in your garage, crawl space, under your porch, or in any enclosed area is safe from the cold temperatures. In reality, those pipes are just as susceptible to freezing as your outdoor ones! Make sure to insulate or cover pipes in those areas to prevent a burst pipe.
Inside Your Home
Complete water heater maintenance to extend the life of your water heater. While most water heaters last anywhere from 8-12 years, water heater flushes tend to increase water efficiency and save you money on your utility bills.
Ensure that your sump pump is in good shape. Prepare your sump pump by checking and cleaning it. Make sure the discharge line is fully clear to avoid flooding that could end up costing you a lot!
By taking these preventative measures, you can avoid a lot of potential problems when winter enters full swing. Winterizing your home in the fall is important so that the unexpected cold won’t leave your plumbing under strain. If you run into a plumbing problem, it might be time to call ASAP Plumbing and Appliance. In the meantime, enjoy the fall weather, and look forward to a winter without frozen pipes!