Most of us aren’t ready to admit it yet, but summer is drawing to a close. Don’t mourn the loss of sunny days too dearly—ahead of you are brisk autumn mornings full of red, orange, and golden leaves.
As the leaves begin to fall, you might be thinking about preparing your home for the next season. Are your plumbing systems ready to handle the cooler temperatures? Before it gets too cold outside, practice these plumbing maintenance tips to avoid costly repairs:
Disconnect Outdoor Water Hoses & Faucets
The garden hose you use to water your lawn is used weekly in the summer, but less so during the cooler months. It’s easy to forget about it once the flowers start to wilt. But leaving that water hose outside can be expensive, especially if it leaks.
Cover any water sources so that they’re protected from dropping temperatures. Be sure to drain any faucets, too—any water sitting in the pipe could freeze and expand, which may break the material.
Once you’ve inspected any water hoses, you can disconnect them completely. Even though they’re outside, they may still be connected to water inside your home. It’s best to do this sooner than later; otherwise, you might forget!
Tidy Up the Yard & Gutters
There are many benefits of a fall yard clean up—it improves the appearance of your home, it crosses off another item from your to-do list, and it can actually protect your plumbing systems.
Those eavestroughs on your roof won’t do much good if they’re blocked with leaves, twigs, and dirt. It’s dangerous to do this on your own, so we suggest calling a plumber for this maintenance duty.
Leaves and debris can become lodged in your outdoor AC unit or plumbing pipes. When you protect your AC unit from leaves, you ensure that it remains functional throughout the colder seasons. The same principle applies to your plumbing.
Test the Sump Pump
A rainstorm can strike at any time of the year, but there’s never a good time to deal with a flooded basement.
Even if you have a sump pump installed, it’s not the sort of system you want to forget about. You’ll regret it if it fails the next time you’re dealing with a flood! Have a plumber inspect your plumbing system at least once a year.
Clean the Water Lines
All summer, you’ve been hitting the beach, cooking tasty meals, and washing off sunscreen. What happens when those things go down the drain of your kitchen sink or shower?
You may end up with a clogged drain. Fall is as good a time as any to get your plumbing pipes cleared out. Stay away from the cleaning products you’ll find at the hardware store—most contain chemicals that are hazardous to your health and the environment.
Speaking of cleaning, when’s the last time your water heater was flushed? Over the years, hard minerals in the water build-up in the tank. Flushing out the sediment will shorten the time it takes to heat water and improve energy efficiency.
Insulate the Pipes
Even though winters in Missouri aren’t as cold as other places in the world, lower temperatures can still cause problems for your home’s plumbing systems. From December to February, your pipes will be at risk of freezing on chilly nights. You don’t want to deal with this problem after it arises.
Insulation is especially important in areas where your home isn’t heated—for example, any outdoor pipes or ones that run through the basement. To insulate your pipes, try using a pipe sleeve or duct tape.
Check for Leaks
Leaks are the silent reason why your water bill is steadily increasing. As they say, when it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. How will you notice a leak when your plumbing pipes are behind the walls or under the floor?
A few signs of water leaks include:
- Rising water bills
- Discoloration in your walls or floors
- Mold growth & strange odors
Let your local plumber know if you suspect a pipe is leaking—it’s best to get it sealed before fall arrives, and temperatures start to drop.