While most of September and early October felt like summer outside, fall is most certainly on its way. This is one of the most important times of the year to check your home’s plumbing — before it gets cold outside and your home’s pipes and water heater start working overtime.
Luckily, the fall plumbing checklist we’ve created is simple and easy enough to complete in no time. In fact, it contains just five simple things. And if you do find that something needs a second look or repair, don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber now, before winter’s busy season.
Check your water pressure
This is an especially important task if you’ve got a sink or bathtub that’s been slow to fill, a showerhead that hasn’t produced a strong, steady water stream, or a washing machine that takes forever to complete a cycle. There are many reasons your water pressure may be low, and you can get the ball rolling by first checking the water pressure throughout your home.
One of the simplest ways to check the pressure is with a water pressure gauge, readily available at any home improvement store. First, turn off a valve on your water outlet and attach the gauge. Then, turn the valve back on slowly and watch the needle. Normal water pressure is between 35-80 psi. If your water pressure gauge reads a number lower than that range, it’s time to call a plumber.
Inspect your drains
It’s a good idea to check every faucet in your home, as well as your shower and bathtub, dishwasher and toilets to make sure they are all draining properly. Slow drain issues could be caused by several things including clogged pipes or even broken pipes. Regardless, if you are noticing that sinks, toilets, and other places are slow to drain after you turn on the water source to investigate, let a plumber know. The last thing you want is a broken pipe problem in the middle of winter.
Find and fix any leaks
Take a look at your sinks, bathtubs and toilets, not to mention your ceilings, walls and your basement floor for leaks. If you detect any, now is the time to get them fixed. First, check around faucets and at the base of your sinks, tub and toilets for any leaking water or puddles. You can also look around your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater for pools of water.
Then, be sure to look at the ceilings to make sure any internal pipes aren’t leaking, and that leaks aren’t coming from the roof. You can also read your water heater before you leave for an errand or work. Then, when you return, providing no one else has used any water, check to see if the number has moved. If it has by more than a gallon, you may have a leak somewhere.
Detach the garden hoses
Alright, so you may have a few more weeks until you need to do this, but before the temps drop near freezing, do take the garden hoses indoors. Why? Water in the outdoor faucets and residual in the hoses can freeze in the winter and cause the pipes to crack and burst. It’s also a good idea to turn off the shut-off valve inside your home. And the colder weather can cause garden hoses to become brittle and crack, rendering them useless come spring.
Do a water heater inspection
This is definitely the time to make sure your water heater is up to the task come wintertime. Take a look to make sure there’s no sediment that’s accumulated in the heater, and double check that there aren’t any leaks from any valves or at the base of the heater. You’ll also want to get ready to move the temperature up. We recommend about 120 degrees during the cooler months.
If you do any fall plumbing check this year, let these five be top on the list. And remember: Don’t put off having any plumbing problems addressed and fixed by plumbing professionals. Get it done quickly to keep bigger issues at bay.