As the summer temperatures start to fade and the leaves begin to change, it’s a sign that it’s time to get out your fall plumbing checklist and get ready for winter. Making sure your home is prepared for the cold weather is key to preventing much larger problems – and their emergency plumbing repairs – later on.
Remember that most winter plumbing problems are avoidable with proper fall preparation. Use the following fall plumbing tips checklist to make sure your home is ready. With these easy steps, you’ll give yourself peace of mind while avoiding sizeable headaches:
- Clear window wells, gutters and downspouts – this will help to make sure that running water – either from rain or melt – will flow freely in the direction it should. It will also help to avoid water from backing up and causing large, dangerous icicles, ice dams or even entering your home.
- Drain and disconnect outdoor water hoses – leaving your hoses connected, particularly if they still have water in them, is a quick way to cause problems. In fact, damage can occur as early as the first freeze. The issue is that water expands when it freezes, which means that ice in your hose can cause the faucet or even the pipes that lead into the house to expand and burst.
- Shut off outside faucets and drain them – a broad spectrum of problems can be avoided by using an indoor shut-off valve to turn off outdoor faucets. Then, simply open the outdoor faucets until they are fully drained and shut them off again when they’re empty. If you don’t have an indoor shut-off valve for your outdoor faucets, they are typically quite inexpensive to install. Call us, and have one installed before the winter has the chance to freeze your pipes, saving you time and worry!
- Have your water heater serviced – due to the colder temperatures, your water heater must work harder to function over the winter. Improve its efficiency and lengthen its lifespan by having your water heater flushed out, eliminating corrosion-causing sediment buildup. Follow the directions specific to your water heater’s make and model to ensure this step is done correctly. If you are uncertain, we can help!
- Give your sump pump a checkup – pumps, pits and pipes exposed to extreme cold can freeze or perform improperly. Give your sump pump an inspection and cleaning to make sure it is operating at its best before it is needed to keep heavy rains and melts from causing damage.
- Insulate pipes in areas without heat – pipes in your garage, crawl space or other unheated areas risk freezing just like outdoor pipes do. Proper insulation with heat tape or even thermostat-controlled heating cables can help to protect at-risk pipes from freezing and breaking.
If you need any assistance in completing your fall plumbing tips checklist, contact one of our experts at McLoughlin Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling. These few simple steps can keep your home in tip top shape, no matter what the winter brings this year.