Now that the kids are going back to school and summer is coming to a close it is time to start preparing for the colder weather. Pipes can freeze as temperatures drop, which can lead to burst pipes and flooding. Keeping your pipes in good condition during the winter is crucial to avoiding the high repair costs associated with flooding and water damage. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your pipes this fall.
Change Your Furnace Filter
Not long after school starts, it will be time to retire the shorts and t-shirts for a few months and break out the long pants and sweaters. Your focus will go from keeping cool to keeping warm, and you need to make sure that your home’s furnace is ready for the amount of use it will receive. Have a professional come out and take a look to ensure everything is working properly and to install new filters, so the air you’re breathing is clean.
Drain Your Water Heater
Your water heater needs to be drained one to two times per year. Sediment in the water can build up with time and create a hardened layer inside the water heater. The problems sediment causes are, first, taking up space in the tank that is needed for water, meaning you will not have as much hot water available to you. Additionally, the sediment can lead to rust colored water and dingy laundry. Back to school is the perfect time for this after all of those extra showers over the summer because of the heat.
Check Your Insulation
You may be wondering how your home’s insulation plays into a guide on plumbing maintenance. The reason is simple: a cold home leads to cold pipes, and cold pipes are prone to freeze and burst. Inspect the caulking around windows and doors, since these are some areas that cold air can easily use to enter your home.
Installing a weather strip on the underside of exterior doors can also help to keep cold air out and away from your pipes. Take a look in your attic and basement as well, and consider buying insulation to wrap around the pipes. Keeping cold air away from your plumbing system will reduce the risks of frozen pipes.
Inspect Your Main Water Shut Off
The main shut off valve is where you need to run if there is a problem with your pipes. If a pipe freezes and bursts this winter and begins to leak, or worse flood your home, you must know where the valve is and be prepared to reach it. Have it inspected to make sure it functions properly, and have a flashlight ready in case you need to get to it. If you do not know where to find your main shut off, take a look at your home inspection document or walk around the perimeter walls of your home on your lowest floor or crawl space to find it.