As temperatures begin to drop, homeowners must begin to prepare their home for plumbing problems associated with cold weather. To help prepare your home for the harsh winter months ahead and to ensure that you don’t experience any unwanted plumbing nightmares, our experts at Horizon Services have prepared these fall maintenance tips.
1. Disconnect Water Hoses
Make sure to disconnect all outside water hoses. If the hoses are left connected, the water in the hoses can freeze and expand, causing faucets and connecting pipes inside your home to potentially freeze and break. Those of you with the FROST Proof hose bibbs are especially prone to damage because the breaks always occur inside the home but doesn’t show up until the spring or summer.
2. Check Faucets
Make sure to check that outside faucets are not dripping or leaking. If so, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before freezing temperatures arrive. Be aware that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds causing cracks – no matter if the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash enough water to cause serious damage or flooding. Keep in mind, if you have an underground sprinkler system this will also need to be turned off by a professional.
3. Clear Gutter Debris
Clear fall leaves and other debris from exterior gutters and downspouts. As temperatures fall and rise and water freezes and melts, having these pathways clear will help to ensure easy drainage throughout the fall, winter, and into spring.
4. Flush Water Heater
Your water heater works harder during winter months. Flush it out to remove any sediment buildup, which can cause corrosion, shorten the life span of the water heater and reduce heating efficiency. Drain several gallons from the faucet near the bottom of the tank. Connect a hose to the faucet and direct water into a nearby drain. Test your pressure relief valve yearly. If they are dripping have them replaced. Over pressurized tanks can and will cause major damage if not addressed. For information regarding your specific make and model of water heater, visit your manufacturer’s website.
5. Insulate Pipes and Seal Leaks
Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as garages or crawl spaces. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing. Seal leaks around doors and windows to reduce cold air penetration.
6. Inspect and Clean Sump Pump
Because sump pumps exposed to extreme cold can freeze and as a result stop operating. Sump pumps should be checked and cleaned annually. Fall is the perfect time to check your sump pump and make any necessary repairs. Make sure to inspect and clean the sump pump and pit.
7. Prepare Home for Vacation Mode
If you intend to leave your home for an extended period of time during the fall and winter additional preparation may be necessary. For example, the main water valve should be shut off, all faucets should be drained by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Shut off you water heater if you are leaving for any extended time. Your home thermostat should be set no lower than 55°F.
Contact Horizon Services
With over 20 years of service experience, we have helped thousands of homeowners in the Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, South NJ, and Northeastern Maryland areas with their plumbing needs. Our team of professional plumbers consists of some of the most experienced and qualified working today in the Delaware Valley. Our plumbing technicians are trained year-round to accurately diagnose and quickly fix any plumbing problem the first time, and guarantee their work for 30 days or the next visit is completely free. It’s no secret that a Horizon professional plumber comes highly recommended and are the most referred by homeowners in four states. Plumbing emergencies are our specialty!