9 Do-It-Yourself Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips
Completing these tasks now will help you avoid major plumping problems later.
Starting outside you’ll want to do the following:
Disconnect your outside hoses, drain them of any remaining water, and store them in your garage or shed. This will keep them from freezing and the plastic hose from splitting.
- Make sure you do not leave any hoses connected to your outdoor faucets. This can lead to your faucet freezing and breaking causing significant water damage. You will also want to check your faucets for any leaks and drips, and fix these prior to cold weather setting in.
- Close any interior shut-off valve that is connected to the outside faucets and plumbing. Open the outdoor faucets to eliminate any remaining water in the line that could freeze.
- Clean out your gutters of leaves and other debris. This ensures that water flows away from your home and prevents water from entering your home and causing mold and foundation issues.
These are areas to address inside your home:
- Insulate any pipes in non-heated areas like crawl spaces or garages. Frozen pipes increase the chances of a pipe bursting, which can cause hundreds of dollars in water damage to your home.
- Seal any gaps where pipes enter your home. These gaps permit cold air to enter through them, which not only impacts your utility bill, but can even cause pipes to freeze. Seal gaps with weather stripping, caulking, and insulation.
Protect your sump pump from extreme cold temperatures. Inspect your sump pump to make sure it is properly insulated and clean.
- Flush your water heater to remove sediment buildup. This allows it to run more efficiently by maintaining proper heat transfer and minimizing the amount of energy needed to heat your water.
- Fix leaky plumbing, dripping faucets and slow flowing drains now. Annoying problems now can lead to major repairs when exacerbated by winter weather. Any work that must be done outside to repair clogged or broken drainpipes will be more difficult, and expensive, when the ground is frozen.
When You Leave Home for a Few Days or Months
If you take an annual winter vacation, head south for a couple of months, or just go away for a long weekend, be careful not to turn your thermostat down too low when you leave. Setting your home’s thermostat between 50 and 60 degrees is a good place to start. If you have areas in your home where temperatures are cooler, like along exterior walls where water lines are located, you may need to turn the thermostat up higher.
If you are gone for an extended period of time you should shut off your water valve and drain all faucets. In cold climates, leaving your cabinet doors open will allow warmer air to get to pipes that are located under the cabinets and along the outside wall of your home.