Brisk autumn air can provide homeowners with a gentle nudge, reminding them that it’s time to start getting their homes ready for winter. A lack of preparation can mean big trouble come winter, so consider these fall plumbing tips and take these easy steps to get your home ready now and avoid expensive problems when the mercury drops.
- Be sure to uncouple any outdoor hoses. Leaving hoses hooked up can lead to trouble; if water remains in the hoses, when it freezes it will expand and can damage pipes on the inside of your home.
- Turn off any outdoor faucets completely. If there are any leaks, have them repaired promptly, before the weather gets any colder. It’s important to remember that when your pipes freeze, they can crack, regardless of what type material they are made of. It only takes a small crack to cause serious damage to your home.
- Turn off any shut-off valves that connect to exterior faucets and be sure to drain those exterior lines completely.
- Wrap exterior faucets with an insulation kit. You can find these kits at home improvement stores.
- Protect pipes that are located in cold places like your crawl space or garage. Wrap the pipes with heat tape or thermal cables to prevent freezing.
- Reinforce the insulation around your windows and doors with sealer to prevent cold air leaking through.
- To reduce wear and tear on your water heater, drain and rinse it out to remove gunky buildup. This will improve its efficiency and save you money. It’s an easy process, but you can consult your manual for instructions.
- Check the pressure relief valve on your water heater. To do so, you pull the lever up and let it jerk downward. Proceed with caution, because the water is extremely hot. If working correctly, the valve will send a gush of hot water into the drainpipe. If it doesn’t, you need a new pressure relief valve. If your pressure relief valve is older, it’s possible to create a leak when testing it. In this situation, it’s best to rely on a professional plumber.
- Adjust the temperature on your water heater to 120°F for maximum efficiency.
- Clean your gutters and downspouts so they don’t get clogged and blocked up with water and freeze over the winter.
- Check your sump pump and clean the pit if necessary. If the pump freezes, it will stop working, which can mean a big mess.
- If you’re going out of town for a long time, turn off the water main. You can empty the system by turning on faucets at the highest and lowest parts of your home. Be sure that the furnace is on and set at least to 55°F or above.
Warning! These recommendations are made for houses that will be lived in over the course of the winter. If a house will sit empty over the winter, there are significant other precautions that must be taken to protect the home. Consult an expert for advice on preparing a vacant home for winter.
Kauer & Son, LLC