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Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Louisville Homeowners

The winter months and the holiday season are just around the corner, leaving the short weeks of fall for homeowners to prepare for freezing temperatures. When temperatures drop, the home’s plumbing pipes and plumbing system can sustain damage that keeps them from functioning properly – which could also lead to leaks and water damage to your house.

Avoid a winter plumbing problem that requires costly repairs when you take action in the fall. Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing details our fall plumbing maintenance tips to help Louisville residents best protect the water heater, sewer line, sump pump, outdoor faucets, hoses, and other plumbing fixtures they depend on. Take it from a professional plumber – the last thing you want to wreak havoc on your winter plans is burst pipes or flooding.

Jarboe’s shares a complete fall plumbing maintenance to-do list complete with fall plumbing tips to help you avoid a freeze. Protect home plumbing when you:

Fall Plumbing Tips for Winterizing Outside Faucets and Water Hoses

In the winter, exterior plumbing like outdoor faucets and garden hoses are especially vulnerable to freezing, which can damage these plumbing parts beyond repair. For best protection, prepare for freezing temperatures early in the fall before winter hits so your hoses, faucets, and pipes don’t sustain damage.

Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips to Protect Hoses

  1. Remove All Hoses Connected to Outdoor Faucets on the Garage or Exterior Walls of the House.
  2. Allow hoses to drain all water. You don’t want to leave water to freeze in the hoses, or the ice can split the frozen hose material, forming leaks.
  3. Once Dry, Coil Hoses and Store Inside in a Garage or Shed for the Winter.

Plumbing Maintenance Tips to Prepare Outdoor Faucets for Winter

  1. On the interior pipes that extend into the house from the location of the exterior plumbing faucets, you’ll find an interior valve to shut on and shut off water. Shut this water valve so no water goes to the outdoor faucets.
  2. Outside, open the water supply valve on all outdoor faucets and allow them to drain. Do not shut the water valve – it should be left open to help prevent damage caused by freezing water.
  3. If your outdoor faucets are older models (not new, frost-free faucets), look for a port between the interior valve and the outdoor faucets, close to the interior valve. If you have one, set a bucket below it and open the port to drain water from these plumbing pipes. Doing so will help lower the risk of frozen pipes and burst pipes this winter.

Plumbing Tips to Prevent a Pipe Burst

When temperatures drop, exterior plumbing and the home’s pipes that run through unheated areas are at risk of freezing. Frozen pipes can become burst pipes, resulting in serious leaks and water damage to surrounding areas of the house. Pipes need to be properly insulated to prevent water inside from freezing, expanding, and causing a pipe burst that will wreak havoc on the household.

Prepare these pipes and insulate them in the fall. When you insulate the home’s plumbing pipes, they are able to retain heat to keep water inside flowing rather than freezing. Special pipe wraps made out of foam or fiberglass or even heat tape can be installed to insulate hot and cold plumbing pipes. Make sure unheated areas throughout the house, as well as the pipes running within them, are properly insulated – pay attention to these areas this fall:

  • Basement
  • Crawl Space
  • Floor Cavity
  • Exterior Wall Cavity
  • Garage
  • Interior Pipes Connected to Exterior Plumbing Fixtures

Fall Plumbing Tips to Prepare a Sump Pump for Winter

Late in the winter, we see large volumes of snow melting, with saturates the ground with water. This water can seep through the foundation and enter basements and crawlspaces. Flooding and standing water cause severe damage to the house, but a reliable sump pump can help homeowners avoid this crisis. Where the sump pump is concerned, fall plumbing maintenance is an absolute must!

Use these home plumbing tips to ready your sump pump this fall:

  1. Disconnect power.
  2. Take the sump pump out of the sump pit.
  3. Check the sump pump for physical damage, corrosion, and rust – call a professional plumber if repairs or replacement are necessary.
  4. Clean away debris from the inlet screen.
  5. Remove any debris within the sump pit.
  6. Return the sump pump to the sump pit and plug it back in.
  7. Fill a bucket with water and pour that water into the sump pit until the float arm raises to activate the sump pump.
  8. Observe sump pump operation to see that it is functioning properly, watching to see that water will drain out of the pit and the sump pump will turn off once the water level lowers.
  9. Inspect the discharge pipes for cracks and damage. Check the opening of the drain line and remove debris causing clogs. All water should drain from the discharge line, or else it could freeze and break the pipe.

Water Heater Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips

The hot water heater is an appliance of the plumbing system. A good water heater system is crucial to the comfort of all homeowners and their families, supplying warm water for washing, bathing, and more in the fall and winter months. To keep the water heater working in top shape, follow these fall plumbing tips and perform the plumbing maintenance it needs before the holiday season arrives.

You need to have the water heater inspected once per year – fall is a great time to do so. Feel free to contact your preferred professional plumber and make an appointment to have the water heater inspected – by having the water heater inspected, you can protect this plumbing system component from a plumbing problem like leaks and the potential water damage leaks could cause to surrounding areas of the house. This water heater inspection will also tell you if the hot water heater is supplying warm water efficiently or if a permanent solution is needed to improve its performance during the winter months and beyond.

If your water heater is a tank type, meaning it stores warm water in a large tank ready to send through the home’s pipes as needed, plumbing maintenance for this appliance dictates you drain the tank to remove sediment buildup that causes inefficient operation and damage that could form leaks as well as water damage to the house. However, only drain out sediment buildup if you regularly perform fall plumbing maintenance on your water heater – if you don’t, these plumbing maintenance tips could cause a larger plumbing problem like major leaks and the need to install a new water heater entirely.

The plumbing tips below explain how to do this:

  1. Shut off electricity or gas to the water heater and close the interior valve on the interior pipes that supply the water heater with fresh, cold water.
  2. Affix a hose to the drain valve of the water heater tank and guide it outdoors or into a nearby plumbing system fixture to empty, such as the kitchen sink or bathtub.
  3. Allow some time to let warm water temperatures drop to avoid burns, and open the drain valve so all water will drain from the tank, flushing away sediment buildup in the process.
  4. After the tank is empty, open the water supply valve on the cold water interior pipes that supply the water heater. Let cool water run through the tank, removing any leftover sediment buildup and debris.
  5. Shut the Water Heater System Drain Valve.
  6. Detach the hose, drain it, and store it safely inside the garage or other properly insulated area of the house to avoid freezing damage over the winter months.
  7. Inspect the water heater for leaks that may have become obvious through the plumbing maintenance process – signs include water pooling on the floor of surrounding areas.
  8. Before using the water heater, give the system time to heat warm water to your household’s preferred temperatures.

Fall Plumbing to Do List for the Home’s Gutters

Believe it or not, the home’s gutters can contribute to home plumbing system issues over the fall and winter, as well as other times during the year. Problems with the gutters also wreak havoc on the home itself, causing damage to the roof structures. When winter hits, if the home’s gutters do not drain correctly, water may reach unintended surrounding areas and cause problems with freezing.

Prepare for winter and put these maintenance tips on your fall to-do list for gutters:

  1. Scoop out Debris From Gutters and Downspouts, and Dispose of This Material.
  2. Rinse the gutters with a hose to remove small particles and sludge. As you do so, feel free to observe drainage – all water should exit gutters via the downspouts and there should be no water left behind as it may cause freezing in the gutters over winter.
  3. Make sure the downspouts of the gutters system move water runoff away from the house – if they don’t, the gutters could add more water around the house foundation, causing basement flooding and sump pump issues.

Additional Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Safeguarding Your Home’s Plumbing System

With these fall plumbing tips, prepare other areas of the house and home plumbing system in the short weeks before winter temperatures arrive. It’s best to prepare for colder temperatures by fixing any issues with your home’s pipes or plumbing system components now before water starts freezing and causing issues such as burst pipes.

  • Clean the kitchen sink garbage disposal to eliminate any foul odors you experience.

  • Schedule drain clearing for the sewer line if you experience slow drainage throughout the house or foul odors coming from plumbing drains.

  • Take a look at all the home’s plumbing pipes you are able to access, checking for damage, rust, and other issues with the condition of your home’s plumbing that could contribute to leaks.

  • Check Each Faucet, Looking for Leaks That Can Be Fixed Now.

Get More Fall Plumbing Tips and Professional Assistance

The fall plumbing tips above from Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing help Louisville area homeowners best prepare the home’s plumbing system, water heater, pipes, gutters, sump pump, and more so these essential components are protected when winter temperatures arrive. For home plumbing help this fall season, feel free to contact us today and make an appointment for fall plumbing service.

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