Remember the old story of the ant and the grasshopper back from when you were a kid? Just in case you don’t, I’ll go over it here quickly again. The ant spent all summer and fall preparing for the winter season, stocking food, and just generally being a responsible guy. Meanwhile, his buddy the grasshopper ignored all of that stuff; he spent his summer goofing off and relaxing. Then, when wintertime eventually came around, the grasshopper was miserable while the ant was all set. It’s a simple story, but there’s some really useful truths in it for homeowners in the Sacramento area in terms of their residential plumbing systems.
Simply put folks, you want to make sure that when it comes to fall plumbing maintenance, you’re more like the ant than you are the grasshopper. Now, you might be thinking that you know some of the most obvious things that you need to do during the fall to prepare your home for the cooler weather, things like fall HVAC maintenance, but what you may not know is that there are also things that you should be doing in order to prepare your plumbing for the cooler, rainier season to come. That’s why today I’d like to discuss the top fall plumbing maintenance tips, giving you all a guide to be more like the ant from that old story than like the goofy grasshopper.
We don’t face the impending hard freezes that some parts of the country do. No, here in Northern California, most areas don’t deal with ice or snow, but we do often get a heavy amount of rain, one that’s liable to stress out our sewer lines, as well as temperatures so cold that our water heaters become even more important. So, take it from me, all you grasshoppers out there, and pay attention as we dive into the top fall plumbing maintenance tips.
The Top 3 Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips
Here are my top 3 must-do, don’t forget them fall plumbing maintenance tips:
- Clean your home’s exterior
- Snake your sewer line
- Have your water heater inspected
Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tip #1: Clean Your Home’s Exterior
The first of our top fall plumbing maintenance tips might be a little surprising, but it’s very important nonetheless. I highly recommend starting your winter plumbing prep work by cleaning the exterior of your home. For most of our area, it’s not liable to fall below freezing at night. However, even close-to-freezing weather can still cause problems for things like your outside hoses and exterior spigots.
I suggest starting by removing all of those outside hoses and storing them somewhere dry until spring, like a shed or garage. That way, you don’t have to worry about something damaging them, or, in the rare case of a free, excess frozen water damaging your spigot.
When you’re removing those hoses, go ahead and also check to see if you have any leaks. These are so much harder to notice during the rainy season, but if you spot them now while it’s still dry, it’s pretty easy to call out a professional to get them fixed.
Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tip #2: Snake Your Sewer Line
The next entry on our list of top fall plumbing maintenance tips is to make sure to snake your sewer line. Now, you may remember that we’ve talked in the past about the potential for your sewers to back up when it rains. If you do, you’ll know that folks tend to assume it’s the city’s responsibility to make sure sewers are clean and clear, but there’s some burden on homeowners to take care of their individual sewers too.
In fact, taking a proactive approach and having a professional plumber out to snake your sewer line every fall can save you quite a bit of trouble when the rainy season gets here in full swing over the winter. The last thing you want is the intense amount of rain that we get in this region washing debris into your sewers and causing damage or blockage. When that happens, you can get sewage backing up into your home, and, believe me, no homeowner wants to experience that.
Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tip #3: Have Your Water Heater Inspected
Our final entry on today’s list of top fall plumbing maintenance tips is to have your water heater inspected by a local plumbing professional. Again, it doesn’t get as cold in Northern California as it does in places like Buffalo, Minneapolis, or Chicago, but it still gets downright chilly here. On our coldest days temperatures regularly plunge into the low 40s or high 30s, and when that happens, few things feel as good as a hot shower.
You want to make sure that your water heater is up for handling its duties this winter. That’s why another route you may want to consider is getting a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters use less water overall, which can make your water bill drop. They also heat water at the point of entry to your pipes, so you don’t have to wait for your shower to get hot or worry about someone else in your house using all of the hot water before you’ve had your own chance to take a shower before work.
Those are just three ways that you can be more like the ant than the grasshopper when it comes to preparing your plumbing for the cold and rainy weather. I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve got your furnace and insulation situations all taken care of. Don’t, however, think you can ignore your plumbing.
You may have also noticed that a commonality between all three entries on our list of the top fall plumbing maintenance tips is that you might want to get a professional involved. I know I would if I were you. The trained plumbing professionals at Bell Brothers have been working with homes in Northern California for decades, and we’d be more than happy to help you get yours all set this fall.
At Bell Brothers, our trained plumbing professionals would be happy to answer any questions that you might have about the top fall plumbing maintenance tips, and to help you out with tricky work like inspecting your water heater before winter arrives. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.
Wondering how to finance a new furnace, or maybe even new windows and plumbing? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
Image courtesy John Borda