Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Fall

Here are a few simple plumbing preparations to do during the fall to winterize your home and help prevent disaster and costly expenses.

Extreme Caution!

This simple checklist is for homeowners. If you are a snowbird, leaving your home vacant for long periods of time, you will need to take further precautions. Seek professional help for winterizing such properties. Clear Drain can help will any plumbing tips and concerns you have.

  • Make sure garden hoses are disconnected from hose bibs on the outside of your house. Then either blow them out or drain them with gravity and store inside for the winter. An outside shed is nice, but the plastic and rubber will still freeze and thaw numerous times and most likely crack. A garage that doesn’t get below freezing should be fine. If left connected, water in the hoses can freeze and expand causing faucets and connecting pipes inside your home to freeze and break.
  • It would be very wise to inspect and clean your sump pump and the pit in which it’s situated. When your sump pump is exposed to extreme cold, it can freeze, which in turn prevents the pump from operating. Without a properly working sump pump, water can enter your basement and can easily cause flooding, especially when precipitation is high.
  • If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and open bleeder valves to drain water from outside lines.
  • Take a walk through your basement, and insulate the pipes you can see. Especially the ones near the outside walls. If your pipes run through garages or crawl spaces that are unheated make sure to apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes to prevent freezing. If you are lucky enough to know which pipes normally freeze, you can use heat tape to warm that pipe throughout the winter.
  • Repair any outside faucets that are dripping or leaking because when water freezes it causes pressure on your pipes. If there are any tiny cracks in your pipes this pressure will cause your pipes to burst.
  • Because your water heater gets a work out during the winter it is important to make sure it is in proper working order. This is especially necessary if you happen to live in an area that uses hard water. When your hot water heater isn’t drained enough, extra amounts of sediments could build up in the tank, and rust could begin to develop and reduce heating efficiency. So every fall you should drain several gallons of water from the faucet near the bottom of the tank. Connect a hose to the faucet and direct water into a nearby drain. Check your water heater manufacturer‘s website for specific instructions concerning your make and model. Note also consumer reports show that the average tank lasts between 10-12 years. So if your tank is up in that age or you’re unsure of the age give us a call and our happy go lucky plumbing technicians will come to the rescue. Whether your tank needs serving or replacing our plumbing experts will be able to determine the best solution to help prevent problems in the future.
  • Double check the temperature on your water heater’s thermostat. For the best performance make sure it is set to 120°F.
  • Clear leaves and dirt from gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage for when those southern Alberta Chinooks thaw ice and snow.
  • It is important that everyone in your home know how to shut off the main water valve as well as the valves under toilets and sinks. Everyone that is old enough to be in the house alone should know how to turn off the water. Even a ½” blow pipe can gush upwards of 10 gallons per minute if you have high pressure in your house. Having your 10 year old take care of this 15 minutes before he/she can get a neighbor to help can save you thousands of dollars.