Do You Have a Fall Plumbing Checklist?

You’ve probably started thinking about preparing your equipment for colder temps, but how do you help homeowners avoid frozen pipes?
Do You Have a Fall Plumbing Checklist?
Perhaps a walk-around with a customer isn’t a practice you normally preach, but it could help attract — and retain — those worrywart homeowners who make your phone ring off the wall when Old Man Winter comes knocking.

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Leaves have been falling, the air is cool and crisp, and we recently “fell back” on that extra hour of sleep. But now isn’t the time to lie down on the job — now is the time to pay special attention to your customers’ pipes and plumbing before you have a real issue on your hands when winter comes knocking.

Here’s a simple plumbing checklist you can use to prepare customers for winter: 

  • This might seem like a no-brainer, but go through the home with the homeowner and educate him or her on the location of certain plumbing components they might need to use, such as the main water valve. Can everyone in the family operate it? Tell the customer that if anything starts leaking, call you, and then shut off the water as soon as possible, before any damage is done. 
  • Does the homeowner know where the outdoor hose connections are? Remind them to disconnect outdoor water hoses before the below-zero temperatures roll in. It would also be a good time to show the customer where the interior shut-off valves leading to the outside faucets are located. No, they shouldn’t be doing your job, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Do they know how to operate the valve? Advise that they close them to drain water from the outside lines before winter, or it will be too late!
  • Point out any leaks around doors and windows in the home, and tell them to seal the leaks to stop cold air from entering. Remind them that this will help keep their plumbing operating properly, and it will also help take the sting out of a huge heating bill. That’s like a two-for-the-price-of-one piece of advice.
  • When you check the water heater to make sure it’s cleaned up and ready for winter, take the customer with you. Remember, an educated customer is a long-term customer. Show them where they can adjust the temperature if necessary, and be sure they keep it at 120 degrees for optimum performance during winter months.
  • Walk the customer around the outside perimeter of the home and point out any leaves and debris you see in the gutters. Tell the customer to keep their gutters clear to reduce water backups that can lead to roof and gutter damage as the temperatures drop.
  • If they plan to leave their home for an extended period of time — like for a nice fall vacation, or to see the kids for Thanksgiving — remind them to leave the heat on (set no lower than 55 degrees!). They don’t want to come home to frozen, or broken, pipes. 

Perhaps a walk-around with a customer isn’t a practice you normally preach, but it could help attract — and retain — those worrywart homeowners who make your phone ring off the wall when Old Man Winter comes knocking.

About the Author

Matt Mertz started Matt Mertz Plumbing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2004.

The full-service plumbing business is dedicated to excellent customer service and providing convenience and fair pricing to customers. For more information, visit www.matt-mertz-plumbing.com.



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