As the colorful foliage and brisk weather of fall is in full force, it is especially important to start investing time and energy in preparing your home’s plumbing system for winter. Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges for owners of four-season homes is managing the timing involved in inspecting and preparing the heating, cooling, and plumbing systems for the unpredictably extreme weather conditions of the snowy and cold winter months. Before the frost and ice settle in, rendering most intensive plumbing repairs virtually impossible, take the time to care for your home and complete all necessary plumbing preparations. Knowing that your home is ready for when the coldest months of the year arrive, you will be able to enjoy the rest of the sunshine and fresh air of the last weeks of autumn.
Ensuring Your Family’s Safety: First Steps in Winter Plumbing Preparations
Before beginning any plumbing inspection and repair projects, it is important to do a thorough run-through of your home and what kinds of equipment you have that a plumber may need to inspect, or that you may need to complete preparations for to ensure smooth operation through the frosty winter and beyond. If you aren’t sure of what kind of heating system you have, contact your heating company to learn what it is and if there are any special seasonal precautions that you need to take. Think about your water system: what kind of pipes do you have? Another consideration is any outdoor plumbing issues you might have, such as an outdoor faucet system or an underground garden irrigation system.
Before the Frost Takes Hold: The Most Critical Indoor Plumbing Preparations
Once you have a clear understanding of what areas need your attention, perform your own inspection of the different plumbing systems to see if there are any obvious repairs that could use your attention. Are there leaks, or water pressure issues, with any of your faucets? Have you noticed a temperature issue within the water system? Another big area to look at is drainage issues. Are you experiencing slow drainage, or any buildup, within your pipes? It could mean a simple at-home quick fix of pouring a store-bought cleaning solution down the pipes to clear out any buildup of grease within your plumbing system, or it might mean that a plumber has to clear out a big backup somewhere deeper in the pipes.
Any problems that you discover – even a few drops from a leaky faucet – should be investigated now and fixed before frost forms within the pipes. Remember: on one hand, a leaky faucet may signify a superficial problem that can be adjusted with a few clicks of a wrench. On the other hand, even a few random drips from a leaky faucet can serve as an indicator of a deep-rooted issue within the complicated plumbing system. Calling a plumber to look at the any obvious glitches before the pipes might freeze at the end of the fall can save you time and money in the long run. In the meantime, set your heating system to make sure that your indoor temperature stays at least above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so that your pipes can stay free of frost.
Outdoor Plumbing Issues: What Needs Attention Before the Winter Months?
Many people forget that, like their indoor plumbing systems, outdoor systems need attention as well. First, empty, drain, and store your garden hose, and check your outdoor faucets for rust, leaks, or other issues. If you have an underground irrigation system in place in your garden or to water your lawn, be sure that those hoses are also clear and that they are properly disconnected for the winter.
Do It Yourself, or Hire a Professional Plumber? Knowing When to Turn to the Experts
It can be incredibly rewarding on a personal level to master the basics of plumbing on your own. Note that the cost of hiring a plumber for small repairs and seasonal touch-ups is relatively small, and companies like Fischer Plumbing provide top-notch service at affordable rates that can ultimately save you and your family from exorbitant repair fees – and critical plumbing problems that could leave your family out in the cold – during the winter months.
This is a guest post by Lilly Sheperd, a freelance writer who shares her thoughts on various blogs.