Chicago fall plumbing checklist
Cooler weather is quickly approaching the Chicago area, so now is the time to start getting your home ready for winter. Whether you live in a new townhome in Bronzeville, a vintage Chicago-style bungalow in Galewood or a high-end home in Winnetka, the cold winter weather can wreak havoc on your plumbing if proper precautions aren’t taken.
Follow these maintenance tips to help prepare your plumbing for winter:
- Disconnect outside water hoses. Close the shut-off valve leading to the outside faucet, and drain any remaining water. If hoses remain attached, water left inside them can freeze and expand, causing faucets and connecting pipes inside your home to freeze and break.
- Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes in garages or crawl spaces that are exposed and prone to freezing.
- Flush out the tank water heater. Plumbers recommend flushing out the water heater tank to remove sediment buildup. Overtime, mineral deposits can accumulate near the drain valve causing it to clog. For the best results, drain several gallons from the faucet near the bottom of the tank by connecting a hose to the faucet and directing water into a nearby drain.
- Check the temperature setting on your water heater's thermostat. Set the thermostat at 120 degrees for optimum performance and to prevent burn injury when in use.
- Inspect the sump pump and pit. Wipe down the sump pump to remove any muck that may have accumulated over time. Also, make sure the pump is kept in a room that will not fall below freezing temperatures. Pumps exposed to extreme cold can freeze, preventing them from operating properly.
If you don’t like to perform household maintenance tasks yourself, it’s best to hire a licensed plumber. Chicago plumbers are licensed by the state of Illinois, and carry insurance in case anything goes wrong. Visit Angie’s List for reviews on highly rated plumbers in the Chicago area.