Last year, 12.7 million homes were damaged by winter storms, totaling about $15 billion in damage. Some of this damage is inevitable, but proper winter prep can help to mitigate it to a degree. So what do you need to do to get your home ready before the brutal cold of winter storms set in? There are several plumbing suggestions you may want to take to get your system ready for winter. Read on to discover some fall plumbing tips to minimize damage to your home during winter.
1. Test the Sump Pump
One of the first things you need to do when prepping your fall plumbing systems is to test the sump pump. Fall and winter tend to have heavier levels of precipitation than the summer. Your sump pump may be working overtime to keep your basement or the other areas of your house dry.
Fill a bucket with water and pour it into your sump pump, making sure that the sump pump switch is working. If the switch doesn’t work, clean the sump pit and the pump, as well as the drain pipes. It’s also a good idea to check the power supply to your pump to make sure you won’t lose power in the middle of the winter and wind up with a flooded basement.
2. Clean Out Your Gutters
Another of your home’s critical water management systems is your gutter and drain spout system. And while all those falling leaves in the autumn can be beautiful, they can also clog up your gutters. When the snow and rain of winter arrive, your gutters may not be able to direct water appropriately, and you could wind up with ice dams under your roof.
When the weather starts approaching freezing, it’s a good idea to spend an afternoon cleaning out your gutters. Remove and leaves, dirt, and other debris that have gathered there, and make sure they’re secured to the roof. You’ll also want to check your drain spouts to make sure your drain spouts are clear and in good shape.
3. Service Your Water Heater
Although hot showers are important year-round, water heaters have to work a little harder in the winter. You don’t want to wind up with no hot water in the dead of winter, so it’s a good idea to check on your water heater in the fall. Most water heaters will last about a decade (give or take a few years) with proper maintenance, so fall is a good time to arrange for that maintenance.
You’ll want to get your water heater inspected in the late fall to make sure everything is in good working order. This may include draining the heater, cleaning out the sediment, and checking the pressure relief valve. You may also want to replace your anode rod during this maintenance check.
4. Get Your Sewer Inspected
While you’re getting your plumbing inspected, it’s a good idea to have someone take a look at your sewer lines. Over time, tree roots can start to grow into your sewer lines, especially if you have an older home. Older sewer lines may be made from cast iron or clay tile piping, which can be susceptible to cracking.
Before the cold weather and heavy rains of winter set in, you’re going to want to make sure your sewer lines are in good shape. A plumber can run a camera down your sewer to make sure everything is in good working order. If there are cracks, you may want to get them fixed before the ground freezes.
5. Insulate Your Pipes
Your underground pipes aren’t the only parts of your drain system that will need attention before winter sets in. The pipes around your house may need to be insulated to keep them from freezing. This is especially critical with pipes that are outdoors, in basements or crawl spaces, or in unheated areas of your home.
Check any unheated areas of your home for pipes, and wrap them with insulation. If you live somewhere especially cold, you may want to get a heated wrap to keep your pipes at a safe temperature. Don’t forget to insulate pipes in your garage and to check water lines that run through your attic.
6. Prep Outdoor Faucets
In addition to the exposed pipes, you also need to take steps to keep your outdoor faucets from freezing. Leaving hoses hooked up and faucets uncovered during the winter could cause you serious problems come spring. If those pipes wind up bursting, you could face a serious flood when the weather rises above freezing.
Start by disconnecting all hoses, draining them, coiling them up, and storing them away for winter. This will keep them from freezing and damaging your faucets as they expand. Then make sure all faucets and spigots are turned off and not leaking, and place an insulated cover over them to keep the faucets themselves from freezing.
Discover More Fall Plumbing Tips
Prepping your home for fall can be an important way to prevent damage during the winter. Start outdoors, cleaning out your gutters, insulating pipes, and prepping outdoor faucets. Then test your sump pump and water heater and get your sewer inspected before the temperatures drop below freezing.
If you’d like to discover more fall plumbing tips, check out the rest of our site at Waterwork Plumbing. We are a team of friendly plumbing experts providing quick service to restore your pipes to perfection in the shortest time possible. Make an appointment with us today and stop plumbing problems from clogging up your time.