We’re mid-way through Fall, and although it’s been a great Indian summer so far it’s high time a Toronto homeowner starts thinking about winterizing. With around two months left to Christmas, there’s little time to lose—especially if you’re planning to have visitors during the holidays. The one thing you don’t want is a plumbing problem during Fall or Winter. The good news is that by taking a few steps now you can make sure you’re ready for the new season when it arrives.

#1: Check the Drains

Checking your drains regularly is one of the most critical actions you can take, and it’s especially important ahead of the cold weather. If drains are clogged with leaves and other debris, adding water that combines with the junk and then freezes creates a blockage you can’t get rid of without breaking open the drain. And no drain contractor will be impressed to have to try and do that during temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius!

What to do: Schedule a drain camera inspection well ahead of the big freeze, and clear out any existing debris to make sure you’re starting the season in the clear. Fit drain covers to prevent any more leaves entering and clogging up the drains during the remainder of the fall season.

#2: Service the Hot Water Heater

Hot water is your friend, throughout the chilly season. So you really can’t afford to have your hot water heater out of action, not even for a day. And you don’t need to be trying to replace it during the holiday period, either. Get your heater serviced now while there’s still time, and have it checked for the common hot water heater problems homeowners experience such as age, damaged pipes and ineffective valves.

What to do: Arrange for your plumber to service your hot water heater thoroughly. This includes flushing it with clean water, draining out any sediment in the base and checking the thermostat to make sure it’s working correctly.

#3: Verify the Valves

Valves are an important aspect in most home plumbing, and you can’t afford to ignore them just because they seem to be operating fine right now. A backwater valve is particularly important, not just during the cold season but at all times of the year. It protects your home from the backflow of sewage and storm drain contents, which would be even more inconvenient during cold weather than any other time.

What to do: Get a drain contractor to check all your valves to ensure they’re working correctly, and replace any that show signs of wear and tear. You’ll spend a lot more money cleaning up and doing repairs if one of your valves was to fail at the wrong time.

#4: Promote Healthy Pipes

It’s also important to check your water pipes for cracks before the cold arrives, because you don’t want to be footing the bill for wasting hydro through holes in the wall while you fix them. Your local plumber has a range of methods for checking the condition of your pipes, including inserting a camera into the pipes or using infra-red technology to detect leaks.