A Fall Plumbing To-Do List For Your Home

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Summer 2020 is nearing its end – and once it gives way to fall (or preferably before then), your attention will probably turn to your home heating system for the maintenance you need before the cool weather arrives.

Just don’t forget to take care of your plumbing, too.

A quick plumbing a once-over can help you identify and fix issues that could turn into problems down the road. Here’s a checklist for some important plumbing tasks to tackle in the coming weeks.

Kitchen and bathrooms

  • Check faucets for drips or leaks, making plumbing repairs as necessary
  • Install strainers in all sinks to prevent debris from clogging the drain lines.
  • Check toilets for hidden leaks by adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank; if the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
  • Inspect your toilet tank and bowl for cracks or leaks
  • Make sure toilets flush properly; if flushing doesn’t work with minimal effort, it probably means that some parts are worn out from use; contact us for plumbing service to get the problem solved.
  • Clean mineral deposits from shower heads and aerators (the screw-on tips of your faucets). Unscrew each and soak them in vinegar overnight, then gently scrub them an old toothbrush to remove mineral deposits.


  • Check the thermostat on your water heater; make sure it is set at no higher than 120°F to get the best balance of energy efficiency and performance (the U.S. Department of Energy recommends 115-120°F)
  • Drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out efficiency-reducing sediment, carefully following manufacturer’s instructions for doing so – or get professional water heater maintenance from Burt’s Reliable and let us do it for you.
  • Consider a water heater upgrade if your unit is more than 10 or 12 years old; the energy efficiency improvements alone will more than likely pay for the investment in just a few years.
  • Check appliance hoses for bulges, leaks, or cracks; repairing or replacing them as needed.


  • Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  • Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for leaks.
  • If your home has a sump pump, pour a few buckets of water into the sump pit; the pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems. If it doesn’t, have it serviced.
  • Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter before bedtime. The next morning, without using any water overnight, take another reading. If the reading has changed you have a leak that should be repaired.
  • Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is a battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.


  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

Don’t wait for a big plumbing problem – stay on top of leaks and other plumbing maintenance! If you need a pro for your East End or North Fork home, just let us know and a Burt’s Reliable expert will be there with professional plumbing service in eastern LI.