Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips to Prepare Your Indianapolis Home for Winter

Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips

Fall has officially arrived, and believe it or not, winter is just a few short weeks away! Before temperatures drop closer to freezing, homeowners need to prepare their plumbing pipes, water heater, sump pump, and the home plumbing system for colder weather. By putting fall plumbing maintenance on your to do list, you can keep plumbing in the house functioning properly and avoid an unwanted winter plumbing problem.

Take it from a Williams Comfort Air professional plumber – you don’t want to skip these plumbing maintenance tips! Doing so could risk water damage inside your house and costly repairs for your home’s pipes once freezing temperatures set in throughout Central Indiana. Waiting until winter hits to care for the home’s plumbing has the potential to wreak havoc on your holiday season.

Our fall plumbing tips will help you keep your home’s plumbing system in top shape through the winter months. We share maintenance tips for your hot water heater, sump pump, sewer line, interior pipes, exterior plumbing, outdoor faucets, water hoses, kitchen sink, garbage disposal – even the home’s gutters!

Prevent leaks, a frozen hose, frozen pipes in unheated areas of the house, burst pipes, broken outside faucets, clogged gutters and standing water in surrounding areas, foul odors from a kitchen sink drain or sewer line, sediment buildup in your hot water tank, and other common seasonal issues.  If you have any questions about plumbing maintenance items that should be on your to do list this season, feel free to contact us anytime for plumbing assistance at your house.

Fall Plumbing Tips to Winterize Hoses and Outdoor Faucets

Exterior plumbing such as the outdoor faucets that feed garden hoses throughout spring, summer, and fall is vulnerable to damage when freezing temperatures arrive. Before we reach the first frost or the winter months, pack up hoses for the holiday season and winterize faucets positioned on the exterior of your house or garage.

Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Hoses

  1. Disconnect hoses from all outdoor faucets along the exterior of your house and garage.
  2. Drain hoses of any remaining water. If water is left inside hoses, it can freeze within. Freezing water expands, exerting pressure on the walls of the hose, causing it to crack and form leaks when used again in the spring.
  3. Wrap up hoses and store them in the garage or utility shed for the winter.

Fall Plumbing Maintenance for Outdoor Faucets

  1. Locate the water supply valve for each faucet and close it. This interior valve is typically located just a few feet inside the house on the interior pipes feeding the faucet, either in a basement, crawl space, garage, or utility room.
  2. Open the water valve on the faucet to allow water to drain out. Keep the water valve on the exterior plumbing faucet open all winter, so any water that is still in the pipes or faucet can drain.
  3. With an older outside spigot, there may be a drainage port on the interior pipes between the faucet and water valve. Place an empty bucket below the port. Once you’ve closed the interior valve to shut off water supply, open the port to bleed the interior pipes serving the exterior plumbing faucet. Allow all water to drain so there is nothing left to freeze in the interior pipes once winter hits, reducing the chances of burst pipes.

Fall Plumbing Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes and Burst Pipes

During freezing temperatures, water can freeze within pipes, which at minimum will disrupt water supply to the surrounding areas fed by those lines. At worst, freezing water can cause a pipe burst as pressure from expanding water damages the plumbing pipes. Burst pipes are a serious home plumbing problem – if homeowners have a pipe burst, major leaks could result, filling surrounding areas with water and causing water damage.

Prepare for winter by protecting vulnerable plumbing pipes from freezing conditions once temperatures drop, making sure they are properly insulated. Insulate pipes in unheated areas of the house or apply heat tape to exposed plumbing pipes. Properly insulated pipes retain more heat so they’re less likely to freeze and cause leaks.

Insulate pipes using foam or fiberglass sleeves made specifically for plumbing pipes. Insulate surrounding areas where vulnerable plumbing runs. Prepare hot and cold-water pipes in these unheated areas of the house, making sure they are properly insulated as part of your fall plumbing maintenance to do list:

  • Basements
  • Crawl spaces
  • Garage
  • Floor cavities
  • Exterior wall cavities
  • Interior pipes feeding exterior plumbing faucets

Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Your Sump Pump

When all the snow begins to melt at the end of winter, homeowners need a reliable sump pump to drain any water that may enter the basement or crawlspace. Before temperatures drop, prepare your sump pump with these plumbing tips:

  1. Unplug the sump pump.
  2. Pull the sump pump out of the sump pit.
  3. Inspect the sump pump for damage, rust, and corrosion.
  4. Remove debris on the inlet screen.
  5. Check the sump pit for debris that could clog drain lines and remove them.
  6. Place the sump pump back into the sump pit and restore power.
  7. Pour enough water into the pit to activate the float switch, triggering the sump pump to activate.
  8. Watch as the sump pump runs, making sure it is functioning properly and will shut off at the correct point.
  9. Check discharge pipes and make sure they drain properly. Remove debris that may be clogging the drain opening. All water should drain from the pipes so it’s not freezing within and clogging the drain.

Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Your Water Heater System

Homeowners depend on the hot water heater system to deliver warm water in fall, winter, and throughout the year. You should have the water heater inspected annually and perform plumbing maintenance to remove sediment buildup from the storage tank about every six months (or more if your house has very hard water).

  1. Feel free to call a professional plumber in the fall to have your water heater inspected for leaks that may stem from a water supply valve, rusted tank, or other faulty component and make sure the water heater provides warm water temperatures efficiently.
  2. Flush a tank style water heater to remove sediment buildup that can restrict the appliance’s ability to provide warm water. Only do this fall plumbing maintenance if you regularly drain the water heater or if the water heater is new – otherwise leaks and water damage may form when you drain it, as sediment buildup can block leaks in the tank.
  3. Turn off the water heater and allow water temperatures to cool. Shut the interior valve on the incoming water pipe.
  4. Attach a hose to the water heater drain valve and route the hose to drain outdoors or in a nearby sink or floor drain. Open the water heater drain valve and allow it to drain the warm water from within. Turn on hot water faucets in the bathroom and kitchen sink to aid the process.
  5. Once you drain all warm water, close the drain valve and open the interior valve on the water supply pipe. Allow the water heater to fill with fresh water and wash remaining sediment buildup and debris out of the tank.
  6. Shut the water heater drain valve and allow the water heater to refill and heat water to the desired temperatures.
  7. Check the water heater for leaks and call a professional plumber if you experience a problem with the water heater system.

Fall Plumbing Tips and Maintenance Tips for Your Home’s Gutters

The home plumbing system can be impacted by the home’s gutters if gutters do not drain correctly. If gutters do not send water runoff away from the house, it can cause foundation issues and flooding in the basement, which the sump pump must handle. Freezing water in gutters can wreak havoc, causing roof damage, issues with heat pumps, and damage to the gutters themselves.

Prepare your gutters and protect the plumbing system this fall and winter with these maintenance tips before temperatures enter the freezing range.

  1. Clean all large debris from gutters and downspouts.
  2. Use a hose to drain away small debris and grime from inside the gutters.
  3. Make sure gutters drain all water to downspouts so no water is left freezing within the gutters.
  4. Ensure downspouts attached to the home’s gutters are routed to drain away from the house.

More Fall Plumbing Tips to Prepare Your Home’s Plumbing System

Feel free to give all the home’s pipes and faucets a thorough inspection during the short weeks of fall, as it will help you avoid winter issues. Solve any issues with home plumbing now through fall plumbing maintenance tips or a permanent solution from a professional plumber.

  • Check all faucets for leaks and correct any leaks you find.
  • Inspect all visible pipes in your home’s plumbing system for damage, leaks, and insulation needs.
  • Have your sewer line routinely cleaned to prevent sewer line backups and foul odors over the winter.
  • Clean the disposal on the kitchen sink to prevent foul odors.

Get Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips Directly from the Pros!

Don’t let fall and winter freezing temperatures wreak havoc on your home’s pipes and plumbing components or cause water damage that ruins your holiday season – prepare your home’s plumbing with the fall plumbing tips discussed above. Williams Comfort Air is happy to assist you with your home’s plumbing needs, whether it be repairs for leaks or some simple plumbing tips to better prepare for fall and winter. Our Indianapolis plumbers are always ready to handle your home plumbing needs – contact us now.

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