Just as you switch up your wardrobe when the seasons change, it’s important to keep up with seasonal house plumbing basics. As the weather gets brisker, homeowners should implement fall plumbing tips to avoid potential plumbing problems in the future. As winter looms, homeowners’ biggest concern from a plumbing perspective is freezing temperatures, ice, and related damage.
Fall plumbing tips prepare the home for colder weather, so you can get back to enjoying football, pumpkin-flavored beverages, and the colors of changing leaves. Chilly temperatures in fall serve as a gentle reminder of the harsher winter months ahead, so make sure to keep up with house plumbing basics so you're not unprepared for the dangers associated with freezing temperatures. Fall plumbing tips can provide preventative solutions to common holiday plumbing problems.
A few simple precautions will prevent plumbing nightmares during the holiday season. If you don’t take action, you could face some big headaches – and costly repairs – once the wintertime snow and cold hits in full-force. Follow our guide with plumbing maintenance and cold weather tips for you and your home to make sure you’re not dealing with a catastrophe once the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures hit.
Fall Plumbing Tips: Inside and Outside
Around the Yard
- Disconnect Your Water Hoses from Faucets:Remove your water hoses from the spigots before they freeze on to the pipe. Even better, get your hoses clear of water and into your garage or basement as part of fall plumbing maintenance plan before the winter freeze hits them. A connected, frozen hose could damage the faucet or pipes – or even cause it to burst, so disconnect garden hoses for winter.
- Shut Off Valves for Outside Faucets:House plumbing basics includes being able to locate where your water shut-off valve is. Make sure that you use shut-off valves to cut all water off from your outdoor spigots. If you don’t have these exterior valves, just make sure the faucet is not dripping or leaking any water that could freeze and burst and cause breakage.
- Cover & Insulate Faucets: Outdoor-facing faucets and pipes should be covered (and ideally insulated) to protect them from the bitter cold. The direct contact between a pipe or faucet and the winter air can risk plumbing exposure to rapid temperature decreases and freezing. This freezing can quickly lead to a broken pipe, leading to flooding and other plumbing nightmares.
- Clean Out Gutters & Downspouts:As a preventative fall plumbing tip, make sure your home’s gutters are clean, clear, and ready to channel rain away from your home. If water floods or accumulates anywhere, it will eventually freeze. Freezing water can create breakages, roof damage, flooding, and a variety of other issues.
Garage & Other Unheated Interior Areas
- Check for Potential Leaks or Gutter Overflow/Flood Points: If your gutters flow through your garage, ensure that there are no leaky spots that accumulate water. Once water begins to freeze in the winter, it will begin to expand – causing more damage. This is the first step in preventing frozen pipes before they happen. Even worse, standing water can create a very dangerous slipping hazard in your garage.
- Insulate or Cover Exposed Piping: Exposed piping is another major area of concern for potential freezing. It’s a common misconception that piping in a garage, crawl space, under your porch, or in another enclosed area is safe from cold temperatures. In reality, these pipes are just as vulnerable to freezing as other outside pipes! This could lead to a burst pipe that spells trouble for your home’s water and plumbing. House plumbing basics include knowing how to avoid and fix frozen pipes. Make sure to insulate (or at least cover) these exposed pipes in your garage and other unheated areas. Simply covering the pipes can make the difference between healthy plumbing and frozen pipes. Covering the pipes means that they are no longer directly subjected to those icy temperatures. However, an insulation kit is the best choice to make sure your pipes remain protected. Lookout for pipe damage in extreme cold — especially if your house has “big blue” pipes.
In the Basement
- Check & Clean Your Water Heater:Keeping your water warm during the cooler months means that your heater will be stressed a bit more than during the spring and summer. Keep your water heater healthy by checking it to ensure it’s clean, clear, and ready to run before it gets colder. This includes a flush to remove any accumulated sediment that may be at the bottom of the heater.
- Ensure Your Sump Pump is Clean & Functional: Similar to your heater, you should prep your sump pump for winter by checking and cleaning it to make sure it’s fully functional. Make sure the discharge line is fully clear to avoid flooding that could cost you a lot of cash in repair costs.
Autumn is your cue to winterize your home's plumbing.
By taking preventative measures with these fall plumbing tips, you can avoid a lot of potential problems once winter kicks into high-gear. Winterizing your home should take place in fall so unexpected cold snaps don’t leave your plumbing under strain.
These fall plumbing tips and top Thanksgiving plumbing tips are part of broader house plumbing basics that every homeowner can take initiative on. However, if you run into a plumbing problem that’s out of scope then it might be time to call a professional. Schedule a service appointment with John C. Flood today to have your home winterized by an expert! In the meantime, enjoy the mild fall weather – and look forward to winter without fearing frozen pipes!