Fall Plumbing Maintenance: ‘Tis The Season
The fall season is upon us and it’s time for a thorough home plumbing assessment walk through.
Before the chill in the air gets to be a bitter bite that can freeze pipes, it’s a wise move to inspect your home for any plumbing problems that can arise. Regular plumbing assessments can save time and money in the long run.
Plumbing problems seem livable and often times go unnoticed—until one day, they rear their ugly head and cause major damage to your home. Many leaks are difficult to detect and aren’t even visible to the naked eye. Some leaks are obvious and can easily be fixed. Others, not so much. Water stains on your ceiling or walls, as well as an increased water bill can indicate a leak.
A dripping faucet or a running toilet is not only annoying, but it can cause serious structural damage and mold problems. If spending your Saturday checking for leaks is not your idea of a pleasant weekend, try dedicating the entire year trying to recover expenses from repairing your basement’s foundation, not to mention accumulating extra plumber hours trying to fix the problem.
DID YOU KNOW? One leaky home can cause up to 20,000 gallons in wasted water each year.
The best preparation is to inspect your home room by room, conducting an in-depth leak check throughout your home. Giving your home the attention it deserves this fall by conducting an overall plumbing inspection will give you peace of mind that this winter will be a cozy one.
There are a few things both inside and outside of your home that you can do yourself to start the process.
Room By Room, Check Off Plumbing Tasks From Your List:
Bathroom(s) And Kitchen
- Lavatory Faucet
- Angle Stops
- Service Tubing
- Drain Piping
- Tub/Shower Faucet
- Toilet Controls
- Angle Stop/Service Tubing
- Sink Faucet
- Garbage Disposal
Look For New Water Leaks: Seen And UnSeen
Fixtures like toilets and showers should be checked for any leaks or damage. Though your fixtures may be working well despite some obvious wear and tear, any significant cracks, dents, and corrosion are definitely means for concern. Any of this damage may prove serious enough to interrupt the unit’s efficiency. Also be on the lookout for any excessive drips, which can be detected through damp spots on floors, wet walls, and damp ceilings.
Make sure that caulking around sinks and tubs are suffice. Good waterproof sealant will prevent water seepage into your sub-flooring. Examine caulking around your doors and windows to reduce heat or cooling loss. While you’re at it, visit your sink disposal and dishwasher base to ensure adequate water flow and clear path plumbing connection.
- Laundry Shutoffs
- Laundry Hoses
- Drain Piping
- Sink Faucet
- Angle Stops/Service Tubing
- Drain Piping
Resolve Clogs, Replace Valves
Your mud room. A place for mud—dirty boots, road salt and snow, greasy fingerprints, and wet dog towels. Don’t forget about this room. Make sure your drains are not clogged by muddy crud.
An angle stop is the shut off valve found under every sink and toilet. Some angle stop installed models are mediocre quality and don’t function well for the long haul. Replacing valves to high quality models ensure that water to your fixture installations can be completely shut off when required.
Basement: Water Heater, Septic, Sewer System
- Hot Supply Flex
- Cold Supply Flex
- Pressure Safety Valve
- Safety Valve Drain Line
- Drain Valve
- Septic Sewer
- Sump Pump
Go Downstairs More Often
Fall is a great time to survey your basement structure and fixtures for good function. Look for changes in your walls, floor tiles, drains, washing machine piping and dryer connectivity, especially around your water tub.
Flush out hot water heater and remove residue to prolong the life and efficiency of your heater. Don’t wait until you need your sump pump to find out it’s not working. Test it often.
Purge and declutter so there’s no obstruction in and around sewage drains. Inventory details of your basement, including photos and checklists of your valuables in the event of the unthinkable—a flood.
Water heater connector such as Eastman’s Steel Flex is standard in water heater supply lines. Its quality is determined by what’s invisible. This connector features a non-toxic PVC core, multifilament braided nylon reinforcement, a clear vinyl outer shell, and a grade 304 stainless steel braided exterior designed to prevent kinking and crimping. resists corrosion and is easy to install.
Make sure your septic and sewer system lines are clear and free of roots. Roots won’t grow as much during winter and it’s a perfect time for maintenance. If your septic tank is full, have it pumped while the ground is still warm. Excavating a frozen yard may cost more due to extra manpower.
Roof, Gutters, Chimney, Irrigation
- Hose #1
- Hose #2
- Hose #3
- Irrigation/Sprinkler Systems
- Water Pressure
Clear The Crud, Scrap The Crap
Observe the condition of your exterior house structures. Sweep away leaves and debris and examine your shingles to see if there are any missing or broken areas to fix.
Trim dead tree branches and shrubs that overhang your roof. Unruly growth and dead branches are more flammable than live ones. They could topple over in a blizzard or windstorm, causing considerable damage to your roof, gutters, and chimney. Keep your chimney protected and screened from foliage and rodents that can make themselves right at home inside chimney cavities.
Remove dirt and leaf waste from gutters, drains, and downspouts. Decomposing leaves can cause a plumbing system blockage, leading to bursting pipes in the winter months. Make sure downspouts are connected properly and are at least 10’ away from your exterior walls.
Snake out your drains for pesky roots so they don’t invade your entire pipeline and foundation system.
That first snowfall will be here before you realize it. Turn off and flush external faucets. Disconnect your outdoor faucets and store them in a safe place. Leaving water on with your hoses attached could cause frozen pipes to burst from the elements.
Fall is the time to clear out your yard sprinkler systems. Regular irrigation maintenance— before winter arrives—is best so that your water pressure is functioning as efficient as it can be come spring time.
A Fall Checklist Plumbing Maintenance Is Essential
The time investment for careful plumbing inspections each fall are worth it. You’ll save costs when you’re proactive in preparation. Remember, it’s better to take the time now versus having to recover for major home plumbing troubles later.
If you resolve problems early enough you will prevent minor home creaks and leaks from getting worse. Fall is a great time to take advantage of the moderate weather to repair any damages prior to the upcoming holiday winter months, when time gets even busier.