Fall is in full swing, the weather is getting colder, winds are getting drier and days are getting shorter. That could only mean one thing; winter is coming! As the leaves change color and start shedding off the trees, our job is to make sure that our house is fully prepared for winter. Experts recommend that fall and early winter is the right time to check your home’s plumbing system and fix any of the issues to avoid facing drastic consequences with the drop in mercury.
Getting your house ready for winter is neither hectic nor costly, but if you don’t do that, this mistake is going to burn a hole in your pocket. This post is about top plumbing tasks that you must do in fall to prevent many plumbing problems from destroying your house in winter.
Protect the pipes
The best way to avoid freezing up of pipes and bursting is to make sure that they are properly insulated. Any pipe that carries water in or out of your house and is exposed completely to the outdoor temperature, including those in garages, basement/cellar area, etc. should be covered in insulation sleeves.
Also, shut down the valve of any outdoor water source that supplies water to your house and drain the pipe completely to prevent water from freezing inside the pipes and damaging them.
Fix leaky faucets
If you find any leaking faucet or pipe joint in your house, get it fixed immediately. You would be astonished to know the amount of water that can go to waste through a leaking tap.
Also, keep checking all the outdoor spigots throughout fall for any leaks. If possible, shut down the main valve that supplies water to any tap on the outside and drain the pipes. This step is really crucial because if the water stays in the pipe that is in contact with the outside temperature, it can freeze and expand resulting into bursting of the pipe.
Maintain the water heater
Experts recommend that you drain out all the water from the water heater tank at least once a year. If you live in an area with hard water supply, this activity is even more important because it will remove any sediments deposited in the tank. These residues are crucial to removed because they can accumulate near the drain valve and clog it. The sedimentation can also lead to corrosion of the tank from inside and decrease the overall efficiency of the water heater tank.
If you think your water heater is timeworn and is not giving its best performance, it’s better to get it replaced with a new one in the fall only.
For optimum performance and safety set the thermostat of the water heater to 120 degrees F. Remember that higher temperature can cause burns to children and even to adults sometimes.
Check the sump pump
If you have a sump pump in your basement, clean the sump pit and make sure it's working properly. If you live in an area with heavy rainfalls or too much snowfall, it’s better to be certain that your sump pump is in working condition. If you notice any dampness or bad odors, get your pump checked from a professional plumber, and if necessary, replace it in time. If you keep your sump pump well maintained, there is very less risk of its freezing and giving you trouble.
Store away the water hose
Unhook any outdoor hose, drain it properly and store it safely inside the house. If the hose stays connected to the spigot with water in it, the water will start freezing as the mercury drops. This freezing of water can trigger the tap and all the connected pipes to ice up too. It could cause cracks or even bursting of pipes inside your house and ruin your plumbing system. Now, what is more expensive, buying a new garden hose or repairing the destroyed plumbing system of your house? You decide.
These were some of the major plumbing tasks that must be taken care of in fall to prepare your house for winter, but the list doesn't end here. Here are a few more tips to help you:
- Protect your outdoor faucets and sprinklers by covering them.
- Keep your gutters clean of leaves and debris to avoid drain clogging. Clogged up drain will cause water overflow which can seep into your basement and cause extensive damage to your property.
- Keep your bathroom and kitchen drains clean by pouring bleach and hot water in them once a month.
- Check your roof for any leaks.
- Get your sewer line cleaned. If you have a septic tank, get it checked by professionals and winterize it.
- Most importantly, have an emergency plan in case of pipe burst. Draw down a map of your basement and inform everyone in your family about the location of the main valve and how to turn it off in the case of any emergency. It might sound unimportant but knowing these things would save a lot of time, which would help in minimizing the water damage to your property. It’s better to be informed and prepared than to spend thousands of dollars on repairing the damage.
These all tasks that we have listed are pretty easy and do-able. In case you feel something is very wrong, and you don’t know how to fix it, it’s highly recommended that you don't let your DIY birds fly and enhance the damage. Visit SameDayPros and find the most experienced and trusted plumbing professionals in your area. They are skilled and trained to face these issues and fix them by keeping in mind the safety of your house and your family.
Remember, Ned Stark would have saved his house if only he had prepared it for the winter. Don't make that mistake. Stay prepared, stay safe.
(P.S. Don’t mind the GoT reference. But how could we talk about winter and not mention GoT even once? Right? LOL)