If you’re like most Kansas City homeowners, you’re probably looking forward to fall activities and cooler temperatures. But what about your plumbing? Are your pipes ready for fall weather? When temperatures dramatically drop, your plumbing can be affected if you haven’t done everything possible to ensure your pipes are working properly. Here are seven basic plumbing maintenance tips, along with some considerations and warnings.
1. Check Indoor Faucets
Now is the best time to check every faucet in your house for possible leaks or drips. If you find any, have them repaired before winter arrives. Inspect your shower head for damaged parts and leaks, along with checking plumbing fixtures on toilets. Leaky plumbing fixtures can result in wasting a lot of precious water, besides causing a spike in your utility bill.
2. Examine Outdoor Faucets for Leaks or Drips
Since water remaining in a plumbing line can freeze and cause considerable damage to your plumbing, it’s important to check your exterior faucets to see if they’re leaking or dripping. Also, be sure to completely switch off outdoor faucets, besides turning off their interior valve.
3. Drain and Remove Garden Hoses
In addition to draining your garden hoses, stow them away in your garage or shed so that they’ll last longer. If you don’t drain your hoses, any water that remains inside them can freeze and expand, which can lead to a hose breaking.
4. Check Pipe Insulation
Without the right insulation, your interior and exterior pipes are likely to freeze and burst. Thus, it’s imperative that your pipes receive a thorough inspection, which includes pipes in your garage. To be sure all your pipes have adequate insulation, get a licensed plumber to examine them and add insulation if needed.
5. Get Your Water Heater Inspected
Your water heater needs to be operating properly, particularly during harsh winter weather. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a highly qualified, licensed plumber check your water heater to see if it’s in good shape so that you’ll have warm water. Just be sure to keep the temperature of your water heater under 125 degrees F to avoid skin scaling as well as an increase in your utility bill.
6. Check Your Sump Pump and Have It Cleaned
Another item to check is the sump pump to ensure it’s in good working order. Consider that a sump pump needs to be cleaned twice a year or more in order for it to continue functioning well. Do you have a basement? If you do, then having the sump pump and its surrounding pit cleaned is even more crucial. This is important in preventing the nightmare of having heavy rains or melting snow seep into your basement.
7. Clean Out Your Gutters
Your gutter needs to be free of debris before temperatures drop. When gutters are blocked, all types of problems can occur, such as gutter damage and foundation issues. Clogged gutters can even lead to roof and siding damage because retained debris and frozen water can create excess weight that can’t be sustained.
Other Considerations and Warnings
- In most cases, the most common location where pipes rupture is on a home’s exterior.
- When away from home during freezing weather, have your water kept at a slow trickle so that it can keep flowing.
- If you’re a “snowbird” and head south for the winter, it’s even more critical to have your plumbing checked before leaving town.
- Even minor pipe leaks can lead to costly repairs when they’re undetected for several months before you get back home.
- Protect your outdoor fixtures by covering them with an insulation kit, if you don’t have a hydrant that’s frost-proof.
- If you have a sewer line, have it inspected for possible issues.
- Drain your water heater at the onset of fall to prevent sediment from building up and creating rust. This is even more important if you have hard water.
- If your water heater takes a long time to heat up, you should get a new one so that you won’t be concerned about your water heater not working in the dead of winter.
Why not enjoy the beautiful fall season and cooler weather instead of worrying about potential plumbing problems? Preventative maintenance can help in preventing larger issues, so contact us for all your plumbing needs and learn more about our wide range of services.