(Featured Image Credit: Don Graham via flickr)
As we all start to wave goodbye to the summer season (with much sadness), let’s all celebrate the oncoming fall. We have a lot of great stuff to look forward to – pumpkin spice, apple cider, snuggling up under blankets with hot chocolate and the holidays!
As the weather continues to get more brisk, however, homeowners have a few additional concerns to worry about. When it comes to the oncoming winter, your biggest concern from a plumbing perspective is freezing temperatures, ice and related damage.
You need to prepare for the winter season now during the fall before the winter brings the snow and ice. 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 tips and tricks to make sure you’re not dealing with a catastrophe once the snow, ice and freezing hit.
Around the Yard
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- Disconnect Your Water Hoses from Faucets
Get those hoses off the faucets before they freeze! Even better, get your hoses clear of water and into your garage or basement before the winter freeze hits them. A connected/freezing hose could damage the faucet or pipes – or even cause it to break.
- Shut Off Valves for Outside Faucets
If you have them, use shutoff valves to cut all water off from your outdoor spigots. If you don’t have 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/faucet and the air can lead to rapid temperature decreases and freezing. And this freezing can quickly lead to a broken pipe, related flooding and other disasters.
- Clean Out Gutters & Downspouts
As a preventative measure, also make sure your gutters are clean, clear and ready to channel water away from your home. If water floods or accumulates anywhere, it will eventually freeze. And freezing water can create breakages, roof damage, flooding and a variety of other issues.
Garage & Other Unheated Interior Areas
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- Check for Potential Leaks or Gutter Overflow/Flood Points
If your gutter flows 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. 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. Many people think piping in a garage, crawlspace, under your porch or in another enclosed area is safe. But the truth is that these pipes are just as vulnerable to freezing as other outside pipes! And a frozen/burst pipe can spell lots of trouble for your water and plumbing.
Make sure to insulate (or at least cover) these exposed pipes in your garage and other unheated areas. Even just covering the pipes can make a fairly big difference because they are no longer directly exposed to those icy temperatures. However, an insulation kit is the better choice to make sure your pipes remain protected.
In the Basement
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- 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. That’s why you check it to be sure it’s clean, clear and ready to run before it gets colder. This includes a flush/rinse 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, the sump pump should also be checked and cleaned to make sure it’s at 100% functionality. Make sure it’s at full functionality and the discharge line is fully clear. That way, you’ll avoid flooding that could cost you a lot of cash in repair costs.
Have a Safe and Fun Fall (and Winter)!
All it takes is a few short steps to check and verify all the above-listed items during the fall. By checking these components now, you’ll avoid a lot of potential problems once the weather starts to get really cold. If you run into a problem, schedule a service appointment with John C. Flood today!
In the mean time, let’s all enjoy a great fall season – and an even better wintertime, too.