In the coming weeks temperatures will continue to drop, so now is the best time for homeowners in eastern North Carolina to begin preparing their homes for plumbing problems associated with cold weather. To prepare your home for the harsh winter months ahead and to ensure you avoid any unwanted plumbing nightmares, our experts at Eastern Plumbing have compiled a list of fall maintenance tips.
Disconnect Water Hoses.
If your water hoses are left connected, the water in the hoses can freeze and expand, causing faucets and pipes inside your home to break. Make sure to disconnect all outside water houses to prevent a potential flood.
Inspect your outside faucets to make sure they are not dripping or leaking. If they are, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before the freezing temperatures arrive. When pipes freeze, water pressure builds up causing cracks. A tiny crack can unleash enough water to cause serious damaging or flooding. If you have an underground sprinkler system this will also need to be turned off by a professional.
Clear Gutter Debris.
Remove fall leaves and other debris from exterior gutters and downspouts. Throughout fall, winter and spring, temperatures will drop and rise and water will freeze and melt. Clearing your gutters and downspouts will ensure easy draining throughout the ever-changing seasons.
Flush Water Heater.
Your water heater works its hardest during winter months. Be sure to flush your water heater during this time of the year. When left untouched, sediment can buildup and cause corrosion, which shortens the life span of the water heater and reduces heating efficiency. To flush, 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. As an added tip, test your pressure relief valve yearly. If the valves are dripping, have them replaced. Over pressurized tanks are dangerous if not addressed. For information regarding your specific make and model of water heater, visit your manufacturer’s website.
Insulate Pipes and Seal Leaks.
Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and garages, especially if your water heater is in the garage. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing. Seal leaks around doors and windows to reduce cold air penetration.