Autumn leaves and cooler temperatures may be pleasant to experience, but they also indicate a whole new season of possible plumbing issues. Knowing what they are means you may be able to avoid problems.
1. Carve With Care
Whether you are carving pumpkins or turkeys, make sure you don't put anything down the drains that could cause problems. Stringy vegetable matter, such as pumpkin guts and vegetable peelings, can clog drains and jam garbage disposals. The same goes for things like turkey bones and grease. Put these items in the garbage instead of in the sink.
2. Leave the Dirt In the Garden
Fall is the time for fall harvests, which means you may be bringing in lots of fresh vegetables from the garden. Unfortunately, cleaning the soil off of these vegetables in your sink is a recipe for drain clogs. Instead, place vegetables in an open weave plastic or metal basket as you harvest. Then, rinse the bulk of the soil off in the garden, before you bring the veggies inside for preparation. The dirt stays in the garden where it is helpful, instead of in your drains where it causes trouble.
3. Prepare for Early Freezes
The first freeze often happens in late fall. If you aren't prepared, then pipes can freeze. A fall freeze likely won't affect any of the plumbing in your home but it can play havoc with your outdoor pipes. Have your sprinklers blown out and put to rest in late summer or early fall before freezes are a danger. Further, shut off the water to outdoor hose bibs or place insulating covers over these bibs to minimize the chances of a burst pipe or damaged tap.
4. Insulate Your Water Heater
Once winter arrives, your hot water heater will have to work harder in order to maintain the water temperature in the tank. This stress actually first begins in fall once temperatures begin to drop. You can prolong the life of your water heater and save on energy costs by installing a hot water heater blanket. This is an insulating cover that prevents heat loss from the tank so that the heater doesn't have to work as hard in cooler weather.
5. Vent Stack Obstructions
The vent stacks on your roof are an important part of your plumbing system, as they ensure that drains empty properly and sewer gas doesn't collect in your home. If they become blocked, then problems ensue. Chances for a blockage can increase in fall, thanks to falling leaves from tall trees near the home. Animals may also invade the vents, since they provide a warm spot for a winter nest. Having your stacks checked for blockages can prevent issues later.
If you suspect issues with your plumbing, contact a local plumber immediately.