Fall ushers in vibrant colors and temperature changes, signifying that winter is around the corner. This is the best time to prepare your plumbing system to prevent costly repairs and inconveniences during the chilly months. If you fail to take the necessary precautions, the freezing temperatures can cause havoc on your plumbing system. Here are a few fall plumbing tips that you can use to prepare your plumbing for the cold weather.
1. Insulate the Pipes
Ensure that you insulate pipes in non-heated areas like the garage and basement. Exposed lines in such areas can quickly freeze in periods of low temperature resulting in pipe bursting. Some insulation materials even have a water vapor barrier that helps prevent condensation on the pipe surface that can cause corrosion. For hot water pipes, insulation helps prevent heat loss. This way, you will save on energy which results in lower heating bills. Also, insulation limits the rate of pipe expansion and contraction due to temperature changes prolonging the lifespan of your plumbing.
2. Plan for Water Heater Inspection
Inspect the water heater for signs of damage. Check the pressure valve to ensure that it’s working correctly and if not, consider a replacement. Call a professional if your water heater produces colored water, runs out of water more quickly than often, produces unusual noises, foul odors, or fails to heat the water at all.
Note that you might need to use the water heater for a more extended period during the cold season. Therefore, you should have a professional service before the beginning of the season to ensure that it’s in proper working conditions. A professional can easily detect signs of wear and help you determine the best possible solution between a repair and replacing the unit. They will also help flush the tank to remove any sediments and eliminate problems caused by these deposits.
During the inspection, the technician will notice some early signs of failure and fix them early enough to prevent expensive repairs in the future. They will also check the anode and replace it if it’s so coated with sediments. Such practices minimize the chances of water heater malfunctions in the middle of the season. Remember to adjust the temperature settings for your water heater to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum efficiency.
3. Disconnect the Outdoor Hoses
Disconnect your garden hoses before the onset of the cold season. If you leave the hoses connected during winter, the water inside will freeze, form ice, and expand the pipe. This will result in pipe bursts, broken valves, and joints. Irrespective of the type of pipe, a small crack can cause massive damage to your property.
Once you put away the gardening hose, remember to drain the faucet completely. If your house has a shut-off valve, close the pipe that leads to the outdoors. Have any leaks on the outside faucet fixed during fall too.
4. Inspect and Clean the Sump Pump
Fall is also an ideal period to inspect and test your sump pump. Keep in mind that extremely low temperatures can cause the sump pump to freeze, which affects its functionality. Begin by cleaning the sump pump to eliminate any trapped mud or clogs that impedes water flow. Next, pour water into the sump pump pit until it reaches the predetermined level to see if the sump pump will turn on. If it fails to kick start, it could be clogged or damaged, so seek professional help.
Have a professional service your sump pump during fall. The plumber will check the electrical connections to ensure a safe operation. They can even advise you to consider battery backup for your unit. The tune-up also includes inspecting the pit size and the valve to prevent water from flowing back to the put once it turns off. A qualified technician will also assess the discharge location and adjust to prevent water from draining back to your house or towards your neighbors’ property.
5. Clean the Gutters
Another essential preventive plumbing tip is to clean the gutters. During fall, leaves and twigs quickly pile up on the gutters. They encourage water pooling on the roof. Once the temperatures begin to dip, the collected water freezes up. The heavy frozen water can cause roof damage, breakages, water leaks in the house and flooding. Once cleaned, the gutters will channel the rainwater away from the house, smoothly.
6. Prepare the Septic System
Ensure that you inspect your septic system during fall to ensure that it’s functioning correctly. During the cold season, the sewage processes at a slower rate. The frozen ground can also damage the septic tank severely. Therefore, consider insulating the septic system to ensure efficiency over the winter. Don’t mow the grass around the septic since it acts as an extra layer of insulation. You may also want to have the septic tank pumped out. Note that leaving the tank full over the winter can result in sewage freezing. As a result, your system becomes less efficient in processing the effluent. The technician can also advise you to consider adding septic antifreeze products depending on the climatic conditions in your area.
7. Take Care of Clogs
During the cold season, grease in your drains can quickly solidify and form a clog. You, therefore, need to clear the clogs in your drain before the onset of winter. If your sinks show signs of a slow drain, pour in hot water with a drop of dish soap. The boiling water will dislodge the clog while the soap helps it slide down the drain. For more stubborn stains, measure equal portions of baking soda and vinegar. Begin by pouring the baking soda into the drain, followed by the vinegar, and let them sit for around twenty to thirty minutes. If these methods fail to resolve the issue, call a professional. An experienced plumber will use an auger or drains snake to dislodge stubborn clogs located further down the drain.
Contact the Professionals for Fall Plumbing Maintenance
Fall is one of the best times to focus on your house’s seasonal maintenance. If you schedule plumbing maintenance during this period, you will likely find an available plumber to help prepare your system for the cold weather. This way, you can avoid costly emergency repairs throughout the winter months. Have a technician assess the entire system and make the necessary adjustments. During tune-ups, the plumber can identify and fix minor issues before they escalate to more disastrous problems.
Plumbing maintenance will also help improve your water quality. The plumber will replace the corroded pipes and fix leaks to prevent the growth of bacteria, preventing contamination to your water supply. Fixing the leaks reduces your water bills as well. You will enjoy better water pressure and the improved lifespan of your plumbing system.
If you have issues with your plumbing system, don’t hesitate to call Complete Comfort Heating Air & Plumbing. You can rely on our team of experts for water treatment, plumbing repair, and water heater services. Our company also provides indoor air quality, AC and heating systems installation, repair and tune-ups in Greenwood, IN, and the nearby regions. Give us a call now to request our exceptional services.