Preparing plumbing systems for the fall can be the key to success for an easy going winter! The change in weather adds a lot of stress to your home, including your plumbing. The fall season brings with it more than colorful leaves, but fluctuating temperatures, going from warm to freezing rapidly. It’s important to protect your plumbing, as the weather in the fall is not only unpredictable but a warning for the freezing temperatures that come with winter. Pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures can not only freeze completely shut, they can burst, causing extensive water damage throughout your home.
Preparing Plumbing Systems
Before you settle in to enjoy the falling leaves and festive holidays, you’ll need to prepare your plumbing so it works as efficiently as possible. There are several factors that put your plumbing at risk, whether it’s a leak that wasn’t fixed, a lack of insulation, or a busted water heater; anything could go wrong. The good news there is a lot you can do to prepare your plumbing and avoid a piping catastrophe. Here’s how you can ensure your plumbing works throughout the colder seasons.
- Clear gutters and drain pipes. It’s important to make sure you frequently clear the leaves and debris out of your gutters. Clogged gutters can clog up your drains which causes any excess water to build up under your roof or back up your plumbing. Clogged gutters can lead to leaking roofs, damaged walls, or even worse, ice dams.
- Service your water heater. Your furnace won’t be the only appliance overworking itself, as the cold seasons mean more hot water is being used. Your water heater collects enough mineral deposits over time that it can cause the tank to either rust or break down completely. That’s why when the leaves start changing colors, it’s important to inspect and drain your water heater.
- Put away your outdoor hoses. You’ll want to drain out any outside water fixtures before you put them away. The harsh weather conditions can add some serious damage to your water fixtures, especially if there is any water left inside a hose or a spigot. Make sure to close any outside water valves, and to add a little insulation.
- Insulate your pipes. The best you can do to protect your plumbing is to insulate your pipes. Any pipes that are exposed, such as the pipes you find under the sink or in your basement, should be covered with a layer of insulation. Foam piping usually does the trick, and it can be found at any hardware store.
- Don’t overwhelm your garbage disposal. Frozen water isn’t the only substance that can block up your pipes and damage your plumbing. The holidays involve a lot of cooking, and it can be tempting to test the limits of your garbage disposal. The reality is, however, that most food waste shouldn’t go down your garbage disposal. Food waste that has fat, oil, or grease, for example, should never go down the disposal as it can congeal and clog your drain fast.
- Clear out your sump pump. Your sump pump will also need a little maintenance this fall season. Just like your gutters, you’ll want to clear your sump pump pit of any leaves and debris, otherwise, it can’t function correctly. A sump pump full of grit and leaves is at risk of filling up with water and freezing over when winter hits, and that leaves your basement at risk of flooding.
- Fix any leaks. It sounds like a no-brainer to fix a plumbing leak when you find one, but the issue sometimes is finding the leak before it’s too late. Most of your home’s plumbing is hidden between walls or buried underground. Some leaks are easy to miss. If you do spot a leaking pipe, however, it’s important to have it fixed before the weather outside drops below zero. Make sure to check around toilets, tubs, showers, and sinks for any leaks, as well as your basement.
- Insulate your house. On top of insulating your pipes, insulating your house just adds another layer of protection for your plumbing. Make sure you inspect your house for any air leaks, damaged insulation, or broken doors and windows. Most air leaks can be patched up with some caulking or weatherstripping.
It Never Hurts to Prepare Early
In fact, the earlier you are in preparing plumbing systems, the more time you have to guarantee your pipes are protected from the frigid temperatures. Busted plumbing is terrible no matter what time of the year, but it should be treated by a licensed plumber right away. Don’t hesitate to call a plumber when it’s time to protect your home from Winter. You deserve to enjoy the holidays without a flooded basement.
Call Jones Services today if you need help this fall preparing plumbing systems!