Fall Plumbing Maintenance

Labor Day has passed and soon pumpkins and turkeys will start making their appearances. It’s that time of year for fall plumbing maintenance, too. Let’s discuss what homeowners can do to prevent frozen pipes, water heater problems, and other ugly situations:

Fortify the Perimeter

Fall plumbing maintenance starts outside where hose faucets and other outdoor plumbing fixtures are exposed to the frigid temperatures.

  • Put away hoses after their last use.
  • Check for leaky outdoor faucets and call R.V. Carey’s for repairs if necessary.
  • Drain outdoor faucets by removing the drain cap on the inside shutoff valve.
  • Clear gutters and drainage systems so water doesn’t collect and freeze later.

Winterize the Pipes

Plumbing often passes through unheated parts of the home (garage, attic, basement, etc.). Protect the pipes from freezing by insulating and sealing off the surrounding space and adding insulating covers to the pipes themselves. You can add foam, rubber, or fiberglass insulation sleeves for dollars a piece and they can be installed by any amateur with access to the pipes.

Water Heater Checkup

The colder water supply makes your water heater work harder, which leads to a loss of efficiency and more likely repairs.

Give your water heater some fall plumbing maintenance to keep it running strong:

  • Test the pressure valve. When you pull the valve handle, water or air should shoot out briefly.
  • Flush the tank. Sediment and debris may be sitting in the water heater tank. Drain it according to the manufacturer’s instructions to clear it out.

Inspect the Sump Pump

Just as pipes can freeze and burst, your sump pump can get damaged if it freezes over. Make this a part of your fall plumbing maintenance: clean the sump pump, pour water into it to test it, and call a professional plumber for service if you spot any performance issues.

Vacation Prep

Despite the old adage to leave some water running to prevent frozen pipes, the safer bet is to shut off the water at the main valve. Even moving water can freeze if it gets cold enough. It’s also best to leave on home heating at a minimum of 55º F. Remember, the pipes will get even colder than the indoor temperature.

Plan ahead for the cold months in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia with some basic fall plumbing maintenance. If it’s time for inspections or repairs, call R.V. Carey’s for fast and friendly service.