Fall is the best time to prepare your plumbing for the winter season. As the temperatures continue to fall and the leaves change colors, it is essential to ensure that your faucets, pipes, and gutters are in good working condition. You can prevent plumbing nightmares by performing some maintenance tasks before the autumn freeze begins. Here are some useful plumbing tips to help prepare your home for the cold weather.
1. Cover or Insulate Exposed Pipes
One of the major areas of concern for possible freezing is exposed piping. There is a common misconception that pipes in crawl spaces, garages, beneath your porch, or other enclosed spaces are safe from freezing temperatures. These pipes are usually as susceptible to freezing as other outdoor pipes. Freezing temperatures can lead to bursting pipes that spell trouble for your plumbing system.
Cover or insulate the exposed piping in your garage, crawl spaces, and other unheated spaces to prevent burst pipes. An insulation kit from your local store is one of the best ways to ensure that your plumbing is protected. Covering these pipes means that they’re no longer directly exposed to freezing temperatures.
2. Clean Your Gutters
Precipitation falls more quickly in winter than at any other time in the year. Because of the rainfall and strong winds, you want to ensure your gutters and downspouts are clear of twigs, leaves, and other debris. Clean gutters will ensure proper draining and prevent rainwater from landing near your home’s foundation or getting into the pipes. If the water lands close to the foundation, it might seep into your crawl spaces, causing flooding and other issues in the process. Additionally, twigs and debris can get stuck in the pipes.
3. Drain the Water Heater
Water heaters work harder during the cold winter months. To prepare the water heater for the growing demand for hot water, flush it out to remove the sediment build-up. The accumulation of sediment can cause corrosion, reduce heating efficiency, and shorten the lifespan of your heater. Drain several gallons of water from the faucets near the bottom of your water heater tank. You can easily connect a garden hose to one of the faucets and direct the water into the closest drain.
4. Inspect Your Sewer
The winter months can overwork your sewage system because most people remain indoors most of the time. Fall is the best time to clear any shrubs and trees that lie dormant around the sewer. Also, clear all the tree roots that have grown during the summer and spring seasons.
You can also snake your sewer line to avoid a possible smelly and sticky situation. If you have had some sewer problems in the past or would like to have some preventative maintenance tasks done, you can schedule a sewer inspection with your plumbing contractor.
5. Insulate and Cover Outdoor Faucets
The direct contact between your faucet and the winter weather can risk piping exposure to extremely low temperatures. Freezing temperatures can lead to broken faucets and damaged pipes, causing floods and other plumbing issues. You need to insulate and cover outdoor-facing faucets to protect them from freezing temperatures.
6. Check Your Sump Pump
A sump pump is one of the most important components of plumbing in our homes. That’s because they pump rainwater away from your home to prevent water damage and flooding. Fall is the ideal time during the year to check for sump pump damages and make the necessary repairs. If your home’s sump pump is not functioning correctly, you need to contact a professional to inspect it or get a replacement if it’s between 10 and 15 years old.
7. Drain and Store Your Garden Hoses
It is important that you properly drain any remaining water and stow away your garden hose if you want to prolong its lifespan. Water left inside your garden hose can freeze and significantly expand, causing the hose to break. Disconnect your hoses, drain the remaining water, and store them in a place that doesn’t experience freezing temperatures in your home.
Contact the Plumbing Experts
These fall plumbing maintenance tips will help ensure that your home plumbing network is ready for the cold winter months. If you are looking for an experienced plumbing contractor to complete some plumbing maintenance tasks, call the professionals at HB Home Service. Our highly trained plumbers will inspect your entire plumbing and fix any issues you might have. We also offer cooling, heating, duct cleaning, air quality, and electrical services to the residents of Central Pennsylvania and the Baltimore, Maryland, area. Contact us now to see how we can help.