With the recent snow fall it is no surprise that fall (possibly winter) is well underway!  And with this change of seasons comes an endless list of problems you may face with your home. Most people worry about the furnace and heating of their home, but equally as important to take care of is your homes plumbing systems. Otherwise you may end up with a burst pipe that could be extremely costly! To help you avoid these unexpected costs, we have put together some fall plumbing tips for all homeowners that will help you defeat jack frost and ensure he doesn’t bite you in the butt with a nasty bill this season.

1.     CHECK FOR LEAKY FAUCETS – Start by checking each faucet outside your home. Ensure that they are not dripping and leaking any water otherwise, they could freeze or burst and could cause a major break in your pipes, regardless of what type material they are made of. If leaks are there, have them repaired right away.

2.     INSPECT YOUR SUMP PUMP and CLEAN THE PIT– Ensure your sump pump is in good condition by giving it a check and cleaning it out.  To ensure its functioning properly, its discharge line should always be completely clear. If the pump freezes, it will cause issues with your homes foundation.  You can usually find the sump pump in your basement.

3.     INSPECT AND CLEAN OUT THE GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS – Inspect the gutters AND downspouts around your home and clean them with the help of gutter shovel. This can  be a messy job, but professionals who can do it for you if you are not comfortable. For houses that have surrounding trees that lose their leave in the fall this is especially important. Otherwise, gutters will fill up with leaves, debris, and ice buildup and happen much easier.

4.     INSULATE EXPOSED PLUMBING PIPES – Unheated areas (such as basement, garage and crawl space) and interior pipes throughout there are susceptible to freezing in the wintertime.  To prevent freezing, make sure to insulate these exposed plumbing pipes in unheated areas (as above mentioned). Use heat tapes or heat cables around pipes once, to eliminate direct exposure to the freezing temperatures.

5.     DRAIN YOUR HOT WATER HEATER – To ensure proper functioning of your water heater during winter months, coagulated sediments (usually found at the bottom of the heater) should be removed.  Before its gets to much colder, be sure to clean these out. Don’t forget to flush your water heater and completely drain it. Carefully drain the tank after shutting the power and water supply valve off by connecting a hose to the drain valve.  IF you don’t feel comfortable, you can also call the professionals.

6.     DISCONNECT WATER HOSES – Before they freeze, get those water hoses off the faucets and drain it completely. Ensuring any leftover water has been removed.  Leaving those hoses connected can lead to major trouble since the water inside them will freeze. Leaving these connected could lead to a pipe inside the house bursting as well.

7.     COVER OUTDOOR FAUCETS WITH STYROFOAM – In Canada, where the climate can reach sever temperatures, it is important to protect outdoor faucets by covering them with Styrofoam or with hose bibs. This very simple and quick solution helps keep the outside cold out and acts as an insulation for your pipes. You can easily get these products from any Home Depot or hardware store. Although this tip is no necessary, A little investment here can save you a lot down the road.

8.     PRECAUTIONS BEFORE LEAVING ON VACATIONS – Before leaving for vacation for any extended period of time, you can shut off the main water valve off (May be located at inside and outside the house.) To be sure it’s shut off, test each faucet by turning it to the highest level on. Doing this well ensure there is no leftover water in your system and will prevent the possibility of a break while you are away.

9.     MANDATORY WATER HEATER MAINTENANCE – Last but not least, is water heater maintenance. Annual maintenance is mandatory if you wish to extend the life span of your heater and avoid the dreaded COLD shower before work in the morning. In general, most water heaters will last somewhere from five to eight years. If your water heater is within that life span, you can prevent a lot of headache and potential ice baths by doing some simple maintenance before the cold hits.

By following all the above tips you can be sure to avoid any plumbing accidents this winter. Because as much as us Canadians love winter, we do not love huge plumbing bills or unexpected costs that take away from our morning coffee funds! And if you find yourself needing a professional for any of the above, give Vigor Plumbing & Heating a call. We would be happy to help keep your home healthy throughout this fall and winter season! https://vigormechanical.com/