Fall is a fun and beautiful time of year in Minnesota. There’re ballgames to attend and watch, outdoor excursions to enjoy and holiday festivities on the way. Fall is also the time to prepare your home for the cold weather ahead. So, as you check your fall to-do list of tasks, such as furnace tune-up and gutter and roof cleaning, don’t forget about your home’s plumbing system. Here are some tips to help out.

Locate the Water Shutoff Valve

The water shutoff valve controls the flow of municipal water supply to your home’s plumbing system. It’s usually located in your basement or utility room. The reason that it’s essential to know where the water shutoff valve is located is if a pipe bursts or an appliance fails inside your home. Water will flood your home until you turn off the water main.

Check for Water Leaks

No one likes to waste water. However, a leaky faucet or running toilet can waste thousands of gallons a year when you add up all of the drips and phantom flushes.

A simple gasket may be all that’s needed to stop that faucet from dripping. If your fixtures are old, there could also be mineral deposits causing an obstruction and water leakage. Soak and/or scrub mineral deposits from plumbing parts with a mineral-solution remover where you can.

Leaky pipes are more serious water leaks, and they may leak water for weeks or months before detected. If your water bill is getting higher, look for the following signs of pipe leaks:

  • Musty or earthy smells are signs of mold and mildew that could be growing inside your walls near a pipe leak.
  • Peeling paint, loose tiles, warped cabinet bases and/or stained drywall indicate water leakage.
  • Corrosion on valves and pipes indicate leaks.
  • Look for pool water or dripping from drain pipes.

You can check for hidden water leaks by using your water meter. Write down the reading and check it 6 to 8 hours later. Don’t use any water during this time. If the reading is different, you have a hidden water leak. Call your plumber!

Insulate Your Pipes

As hot water flows through your home’s piping to your shower, faucet or other appliance, the cooler piping absorbs the hot water’s heat energy. This makes you wait longer for hot water since the water must first heat up the pipes before it heats up your shower. To fix this problem, use fiberglass insulation wraps or sleeves to wrap all of the accessible pipes in your home.

Another reason you want to insulate all of the pipes in your home is to help prevent your pipes from freezing when colder weather settles in. Frozen pipes can burst and cause extensive water damage to your home.

Water Heater Maintenance

Schedule water heater maintenance with your plumber heading into winter. Regular maintenance helps ensure an uninterrupted supply of hot water, and helps keep your energy bill under wraps. After all, your water heater is second only to your furnace for energy usage in your Minnesota home.

Your home’s plumbing system provides essential services that you certainly don’t want to be interrupted. Be sure to schedule preventive maintenance with your plumbing professional this fall.

For more plumbing tips heading into colder weather or to schedule plumbing service, contact the experts at MN Plumbing & Appliance today!