Fall To-Do’s: What to Do to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter
# 1 Remove Garden Hoses from Faucets
Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. This prevents water back-up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls that can be caused by leaving hoses attached. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage. Have exterior connections inspected by a professional if have concerns about damage or leaks.
#2 Drain Your Sprinkler System
Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.
#3 De-Gunk Your Gutters
Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk.
#4 Direct Your Drainage
Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.
#5 Seal Air Leaks
Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.
#6 Eyeball Your Roof
If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.
Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.
#7 Prune Plants
Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your home’s exterior during high winds.