Now that Labor Day is a fading memory, it’s time to think “fall” and get ready for winter. When the leaves change colors and the temperatures drop, be ready with these quick, fall plumbing tips.
• After the leaves are done falling be sure to clean the gutters, downspouts, window wells and yard drains. Compacted leaves hold water, invite bugs, slow the flow of water away from your home and can plug up your sewer and drain lines and flood basements.
• Check all exterior water fixtures for leaks and get them repaired before you shut off the water for the winter.
• Prior to the first hard freeze, shut off the water to all exterior water valves. Normally there will be a shut off valve inside the house near the exterior valve, closing that interior valve will shut off the water to the exterior valve. Once you have shut off the water, briefly open the exterior valve and allow any trapped water to drain out. Be sure to drain sprinkler systems too!!
• ALWAYS disconnect hoses from your exterior water valves, failure to do that may cause the water in the hose to freeze and damage the valve and possibly the interior piping in your home. (If that happens, you’ll get a big surprise when you turn on the water in the spring) Store hoses in the garage if you can, as water freezing in the hose can damage the hose and shorten its life.
• Pick up a Styrofoam faucet insulation kit at your local home center and cover each exterior water valve. (Very affordable and helps protect valves from freezing temperatures) These simple tips can spare you the aggravation of dealing with frozen pipes and damaged fixtures, so keep them handy…winter is almost here.
• Check your water heater’s settings – Next, take a look at your water heater’s settings. As the weather gets colder, it will take more effort to get the warm water you need. Keeping your heater set at 120° will allow your water heater to provide hot water without straining the appliance.
• Winterize your home if leaving on vacation. Make sure to turn off your water at the main valve. If you don’t, you could come home to a plumbing disaster in the form of a leak or busted pipe.