Now that Labor Day is history, it’s time to think “fall” and get ready for winter. When the leaves start to change colors and the temperatures drop, be ready with these quick, fall plumbing tips from Plumbing Professors (Do them before the weather gets nasty):
- After the leaves are done dropping be sure to clean the gutters, downspouts, window wells, and any yard drains. Compacted leaves hold water, invite bugs and critters, slow the flow of water away from your home and can plug up your sewer and drain lines, flooding your basement.
- 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. (Get a FREE Valve Tag Here) 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!!
- Be sure you “test” your whole house water shut off too, THAT VALVE MUST WORK if you have a frozen pipe and need to turn off the water.
- 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 fall plumbing tips can spare you the aggravation of dealing with frozen pipes and damaged fixtures, so keep them handy because…sadly, winter is almost here.