Fall ushers in wonderful temperatures and vibrant autumn colors, perfect for outdoor gatherings. Despite these fantastic attributes, it also serves as a warning that winter temperatures are just around the corner, even here in Georgia. If you’re a homeowner, this drop in temperature can wreak havoc on your plumbing if you aren’t prepared. Before it’s too late, follow these simple fall plumbing maintenance tips to have your Atlanta home winter ready.
Start Outside with your Hose Bibs
On average, winter temperatures in Atlanta and surrounding areas fall below freezing an average of 36 nights per year according to CurrenResults.com. Those days are more than enough time to cause plenty of plumbing problems if you are not prepared. To begin preparation, start by removing all exterior hoses from their spigots. Failure to do so allows water in the hoses to freeze, expand, and burst pipes within your home. When you remove the hoses, you should also check the faucets for leaks and make any necessary repairs. This process may require a professional repair, so plan accordingly.
If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to the outside faucets, close them and drain the water from the outside lines.
Cover outside faucets using a Styrofoam faucet insulation kit available at your local hardware store.
Clean the Gutters
In winter, precipitation falls more readily than almost any other time during the year. Because of this rainfall, you want to make sure your gutters are clear of leaves, twigs, and other debris. This helps to ensure proper draining and keeps water from falling around the home foundation. When water lands near the foundation, it seeps into crawl spaces, causing problems in the process.
Prep for Vacation
If you take an annual winter vacation, some planning goes a long way to preserving the condition of your home. Depending on the length of the trip, shut off your water valve, drain all faucets, and set your home thermostat between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Installing a smart thermostat is also beneficial, as you can change the temperature from your smartphone if you forget to do so before you leave.
Get Your Water Heater Ready for the Workload
Winter temperatures often mean that you’re going to use your water heater more than any other time during the year. Because the water heater works overtime, you want to make sure it’s ready for the workload. If you haven’t serviced it since last year, it’s time to get a tune-up or at least a flush to ensure premium performance. You should also set the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to get optimal temperatures more quickly. In addition, you may want to evaluate your need for a new water heater, as most only last 8 to 12 years.
Insulate Your Pipes
Unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and garages, typically don’t have insulation around pipes, and leaving them exposed makes them prone to freezing. To combat this problem, use insulation, heat tape, or thermostat-controlled heat cables to keep them warm. This will prevent pipes from bursting and causing an expensive repair.
Check the Sump PumpSump pumps are one of the most pivotal components of home plumbing, as they pump water away from homes to prevent flooding and water damage. Fall is the best time of year to check for damage and repair them as necessary. If it is not functioning properly, you may want to hire an expert to inspect your sump pump or purchase a new one if yours is 10 to 15 years old.
Get Your Fireplace Ready for Chilly Nights
Clean glass inside and out to remove residues that could take flame. Check the glass door to see that it's fitted efficiently and give gaskets a thorough inspection to ensure they're not leaking carbon monoxide. Look over all connections to make sure they're secure, clean, and free of any tears. Investigate vents for any clogs that may inhibit ventilation so you can remove blockages and replace compromised vent kits.
Although it seems like a fair amount of work, following these fall plumbing maintenance suggestions is much easier, cheaper, and less time-consuming than the alternative. If you need a professional plumber to aid you in your quest for plumbing harmony, call the experts at My Georgia Plumber. Our highly trained technicians will provide advice and fix any plumbing or gas problems you may have. Call us today at 770-954-8038.
These plumbing tips are intended for homes that will be inhabited throughout the winter months. Many additional steps should be taken to winterize vacation properties that will be left unattended for weeks or months at a time. Seek professional help for winterizing such properties.
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