As summer nears it’s end, fall is right around the corner. With the Kansas City weather starting to cool down and the leaves are starting to change colors, we’re greeted with the perfect surroundings for outdoor gatherings. However, before you get too distracted with this ideal weather, remember that this is also a perfect reminder of the coming winter weather. As a Kansas City homeowner, it’s important to be aware of how these weather changes impact your home’s plumbing system. Particularly with the cold winters Kansas City typically has, it’s always better to be prepared ahead of time.
With this being said, the topic we’ve selected for this week’s blog post is what you should have on your fall plumbing to-do list. Some of these might seem like common sense, while others hopefully will be things you haven’t thought to do in the past. Nonetheless, all of these are designed to keep your Kansas City home in working order as we transition from summer to fall and eventually to winter.
Water Heater Working Overtime
As you could probably guess, the winter is the time your hot water heater is under the most pressure. You’re going to be using it more than any other time in the year as winter approaches and it’s important to make sure it’s ready to handle this increased workload. In addition to understanding the general signs of a failing hot water heater (discolored water, not very much hot water available, loud noises, etc.), it’s important to do an annual tune-up and flushing of the sediment. At Stine-Nichols Plumbing, we recommend homeowners getting all of this completed during the fall season, so you’re not scrambling when you need it the most. Trust us, you’re not going to want to take a cold shower when there’s snow on the ground outside!
An additional key tip to keep in mind as well (on the topic of hot water heaters) is to know that most heaters last roughly 8-12 years. If yours is at or over this timeframe and you’ve witnessed any of the signs from above, it might be time to get an experienced plumber out to take a look!
Unplug Outdoor Hoses
As we near the winter season, we’ll start seeing the temperatures dip below freezing more and more often. Remember, we’ve seen snow as early as October here in Kansas City, so it’s best to be prepared in case winter gets an early start this year! A big point to discuss on the topic of freezing temps is your house’s hoses. Unplug every single outdoor hose that you own. As the temperatures change, hoses expand and contract, thus potentially leaving some serious damages if any pipes were to burst! We still have some time before this one will need done, as you might still need to water the lawn a little bit, but keep it in the back of your head for now!
Check for Leaks
While being mindful of any leaks is something you’re going to want to monitor throughout the entire year, it’s importance rises when the temps start dropping! If it’s a significant enough of a leak, then you’ll probably notice the increase on your water bill. However, that might not always be the case with smaller leaks. The problem is once the weather gets colder, those smaller leaks could create major headaches. On the first frost, those small leaks could turn into a busted pipe. The best advice I can give here is to take the time to give it a careful inspection and ensure you’re ready to go.
Sewer Line Preparation
If you follow our Facebook page, you may have seen first-hand the impact tree roots can have on a sewer line with one of our recent projects. In short, it ended up forcing us to excavate a nearly 12-foot deep trench that extended from the house out to the road. If you’re able to avoid this situation happening to you, I’d recommend it!
Now that you know how damaging tree roots can be, let’s talk about why the fall makes sense to act on it. As a homeowner, you do have responsibilities when it comes to sewer lines, it’s not all on the shoulders of the city. To avoid being faced with a major repair bill, a great first step is to snake the sewer line. During the colder months where trees often lie dormant, clear out all of those roots that have grown throughout the spring and summer.
Gutters, Downspouts, Sprinklers and more
The change in weather affects so many different facets of your exterior plumbing. While a complete inspection will reveal all of these, it’s important to examine why each is so vital.
- Roof: While this isn’t exactly plumbing-related, it’s definitely a maintenance item that you’ll want to be mindful of. Any branches overhanging your roof need to be trimmed off. Similarly, examine your shingles to see if any are damaged or missing.
- Gutters and Downspouts: With the increased precipitation during the fall and winter, you’re going to want your gutters and downspouts completely cleared out. This will allow for proper drainage, as well as water not falling right by the foundation and eventually sneaking into the crawl spaces. Additionally, on the topic of downspouts, make sure they are properly connected and sloping away from the foundation.
- Sprinklers: Just as I mentioned above, as the weather starts transitioning, you’ll find yourself watering less and less. With this being the case, fall is the perfect time to take care of your sprinkler systems. This will ensure everything survives the winter and is ready to go in the springtime
- Drains: We’ve mentioned this a few times throughout this article, but be sure to snake out any drains. The last thing anyone wants is any tree roots invading your pipeline system and creating a plethora of headaches for the homeowner!
Sump Pump Maintenance
The last topic we’ll discuss is your sump pump. Any time a sump pump is exposed to freezing temps, it can freeze and ultimately stop working. To prevent this from happening to you, make sure to schedule an annual cleaning and maintenance check-up. Both the pump and the pit should be inspected for any deficiencies. While on this topic, if your septic tank is full, make sure to have that pumped while the ground isn’t frozen. Excavating a frozen yard isn’t only a major challenge for the excavator, but also can lead to a steeper bill for the homeowner.
Have a Professional Check It Out
Here at Stine-Nichols Plumbing, we understand that plumbing repairs are never fun. They impact many different areas of your home and can definitely throw off your daily routine. The best way to make this entire situation less stressful is to get them resolved as quickly as possible. With fall approaching, it’s critical to make sure your plumbing system is prepared to handle all of the weather changes that coincide with this transition. Some of these you can easily do yourself during a weekend, while others would probably be best left for an experienced Kansas City plumber.
Whether you want your hot water heater flushed or need an entire repiping completed, our team is ready to go at a moment’s notice. Just give us a call at 816-348-3481 or fill out the form here. We take pride in being a plumbing company Kansas City can count on!