Whether you’re on team pumpkin spice or hot cider, something we can all agree on is that fall weather can be rough on your home’s plumbing!
As we prep for cooler weather and shorter days, our team of plumbing experts has compiled a list of seasonal plumbing tips to help you prep your home for fall.
23 Fall Plumbing Tips
Whether you are a diehard DIYer or you’d prefer to leave all your plumbing needs to the experts, these tips will give you high-level ways to prepare your plumbing for for cooler weather.
1. Flush your Hot Water Heater
We recommend flushing your hot water heater at least twice a year, and fall and spring cleaning are great times to take care of your hot water heater. Whether your home is connected to the city water supply or a well, there are minerals and sediment in the water that settle at the bottom of your hot water heater.
To flush your hot water heater, turn the thermostat and cold water supply off Next, connect a drain hose to the water heater. Then, turn on a hot water faucet in a kitchen or bathroom sink and let it run. Be sure to open the drain valve on your hot water heater and let your water heater drain. Once your water heater is completely drained, you can close the drain valve and remove the drain hose. Turn your cold water supply back on and turn the temperature back up.
2. Disconnect hoses
Remove all hoses connected to any exterior faucets and make sure all faucets are turned off.
3. Drain and store your garden hoses
After you disconnect your garden hoses, be sure to properly drain them! If you plan to store them indoors, like in your garage or basement, making sure all water is drained can help you avoid a mess later on! If you are storing your garden hoses in a shed, draining the water can help ensure your hoses don’t freeze and burst during the cold winter months.
4. Cover your faucets
Consider investing in insulated covers for your exterior faucets to provide another level of protection from the cold winter months.
5. Turn off valves that lead outside
Head to the basement and find the interior shut-off valves. This will turn off the water heading outside. This will reduce the chance of burst pipes in the cold winter months.
6. Check your sump pump
Fall brings with it no shortage of rain, so be sure your sump pump is in working order. Make sure it’s plugged in and is in working order by dumping clean water into the base and making sure it kicks in.
Now is also a good time to unplug your sump pump and pull it out of your basin to inspect the base of the pump for any debris or rocks that may have gotten sucked up. Removing debris now will help you extend the life of your sump pump.
7. Check for dripping faucets
As you are removing hoses, check to see if there are any drips coming from the faucet itself or anywhere else on the fixture. Be sure to check interior faucets for dripping, too, as small drips can easily turn into big plumbing issues (and large utility bills) down the road!
8. Insulate Pipes
There’s a good chance your exposed piping is already insulated, but fall is a great time to inspect them. The insulation may have been removed during remodeling work, or perhaps some pests did a number on it. Checking exposed piping each fall is a great way to ensure you don’t have burst pipes this winter.
9. Clean your shower head
While this may sound like an odd suggestion to include in our fall plumbing tips, keeping your shower in prime condition means regular cleaning! An oft-forgotten aspect is the showerhead. Be sure to wipe it down and remove any built-up sediment. Placing vinegar in a plastic bag and attaching it the showerhead overnight is a great way to clean while you sleep!
10. Remove drain covers and clean drains
Similar to our shower head tip, our recommendation to remove drain covers (like those found in your shower or tub) can help you avoid clogs. Regularly removing the covers and pulling out any hair or other particles that may have slipped through the drain cover will help ensure your water drains as expected year-round.
11. Adjust your water heater temperature setting
Did you know that the factory setting for your hot water heater temperature is often much higher than what is actually needed for your appliance and washing needs? Taking time to adjust your water heater temperature (115-120°F is ideal for most homes) can help keep you safer (no scalding water!), as well as lower your gas or electric consumption, as you’ll need less to heat the water.
12. Check your sump pump exterior drainage
The water in your sump pump basin needs to go somewhere, so be sure to check the exterior drain pipes. Make sure your fittings are snug and there aren’t any visible clogs. This will help you avoid drainage back up into your home, as well as avoid any issues with water freezing in the winter.
13. Prep for long trips
Whether you are a snowbird or simply taking a trip, be sure to prep your home by turning off the main water valve for extended trips or by asking a friend or neighbor to check your home a few times a month to make sure everything is in working order.
14. Prep for increased rainfall by removing leaves from gutters
While gutters are not a feature of your home’s plumbing, they do help keep water away from your foundation. This reduces the work your sump pump needs to do and reduces the wear and tear on your foundation by lessening the water flowing down your basement walls.
15. Inspect your appliances
From a newly installed appliance to an appliance that you’ve had for years, fall is a good time to check to see how your appliances are performing. Have you noticed any odd noises? Is your washer or dishwasher not cleaning as well as it used to? Inspecting your appliances regularly can help you identify the need to clean, repair or replace your appliances before they cause major problems or water damage.
16. Make sure your septic tank pumping is on schedule
If you have a septic tank, be sure to keep your pumping on schedule. Not only is it a state and county requirement, but it also ensures that your septic tank isn’t too full (no one wants sewage backing up into their home!).
17. Have your furnace checked
We know this is a plumbing post, so why are we talking about your furnace? Many high-efficiency furnaces have condensed water that needs to drain. By having your furnace checked regularly, you can make sure it is running in prime condition, including a proper water drainage setup.
18. Check under your cabinets
You’ve checked for drips and leaks in your sinks and exterior faucets, but now it’s time to look under the hood. Be sure to look at the supply and drain lines to ensure there are no leaks. If you notice any corrosion, now is the time to take care of it (rather than waiting for holes and major leaks).
19. Inspect your softener, filter and pump
If you have a water filtration system, water softener, water pump, or other water treatment systems, fall is a good time to make sure everything is working properly. Inspect each system and make sure it is up to date on all filters, softener salt is filled up, etc. If you notice any leaks, be sure to call the Watters team!
20. Check and seal any recent plumbing changes
If you recently installed a new hot water heater yourself or maybe did a little DIY work in your bathroom or kitchen, you’ll want to make sure everything is sealed properly, especially if you have any vents or water lines going outside.
21. Look for corrosion and sediment buildup
While most common on copper water supply lines on your hot water heater, you may also notice corrosion or sediment buildup on water lines under your sink or leading to your shower or bathtub. You can gently scrub the sediment with a soft brush and vinegar. If it looks like there is a lot of corrosion under the sediment, it may be time to call in the experts.
22. Reassemble your emergency plumbing kit
While you may not have an official plumbing emergency kit, odds are you have all the pieces somewhere in your home. These include a bucket, gloves, sink plunger, toilet plunger, and a variety of wrenches. The odds are also high that you have used these items for other projects throughout the year. Be sure to take time to find all your emergency plumbing kit supplies and put them in an easy-to-find spot.
23. Schedule a plumbing inspection with Watters Plumbing
Our team is happy to inspect your water heater or any other plumbing concerns you might have. Did you know that we have a Watters Premier Club, which includes $200 worth of inspections and service for free?
Contact the Professionals at Watters Plumbing Today
Regular plumbing maintenance, like our fall seasonal plumbing tips, can help you prevent major issues and costly repairs, as well as make sure the water in your home is safe to drink.
If your fall plumbing inspection identifies concerns, contact the Fox Cities plumbing professionals at Watters Plumbing today! We can evaluate your faucets and fixtures, help you understand why your appliances or pipes are leaking, and help you prevent corrosion and burst pipes. Want tips for preventing your pipes from freezing in winter? We have you covered! Contact us today for more information!