As many of you are currently experiencing, cold weather and your homes plumbing don’t always mix. This is especially true when temps dip below freezing. It is important as a homeowner to take necessary precautions with your homes plumbing systems to help prevent wintertime problems. Trust us when we tell you, it is less expensive to be proactive than reactive when it comes to your homes plumbing.
One of the most common cold weather plumbing issues we see here at Horton Plumbing is frozen pipes. Pipes that freeze can lead into small problems such as leaking fixtures or much bigger issues like burst piping. Repairing a small leak from a thawed line can cost a homeowner hundreds of dollars to repair; burst pipes are not only more expensive to repair but also more time consuming with repairs often needed to flooring, drywall, cabinetry, and appliances. Being proactive to prevent pipes from freezing is a plumbing necessity. From heat tape to foam pipe insulation, preventive measures are both cost effective and easy to install.
We have come up with a list of steps to take to help local homeowners avoid common winter plumbing issues. Cold temperatures lead to more than just frozen pipes, preparing ahead of time can help you avoid costly repairs.
First, we recommend that everyone in the home know where the shut off valves to the homes main water supply valve can be found and how they work. It is also important as part of your home’s maintenance that every six months homeowners test the valves to ensure they are functioning as intended. Quick actions help to minimize damage.
Commonly, the main water valves for your home will be located near the water meter. It is a common practice for many homeowners to turn the water off to the home when they are leaving for an extended period. The last thing you want is a plumbing surprise when you get back from a vacation.
Frozen pipes, as mentioned earlier can be disastrous. Prevention is the best course of action. Temperatures often drop at night. We recommend when forecasted temps are below freezing that homeowners let water drip slowly from faucets. Especially when the fixtures plumbing is on an outside wall. The moving water will help to prevent freezing.
Along with allowing water to drip, keep room and cupboard doors open. The plumbing will benefit from the warm air flowing from your heating system. Some rooms have more heat ducts than others so when the doors are open, and vents are open it can help prevent freezing pipes. Another tip, don’t turn the heat to your home off even when you are gone.
As we mentioned earlier, wrapping uninsulated pipes with either heat tape or foam pipe covers homeowners can help pipes stay above freezing temperatures. Most options are reasonably priced and easy to install.
Water heaters are another appliance in the home that is affected by the cold temperatures winter brings. Not only are you using more hot water in the winter, the water heater itself is working harder to bring your home warm water. Most water heaters are installed in colder, unused areas of the home such as a garage or basement. The unit stays cooler and therefore has to work much harder when temps are lower to reach warmer water temperatures. The demand for hot water increases as well since most of us are seeking to warm up from long winter days with a hot bath or shower after a long, cold day.
It is also advisable to have maintenance done on your home’s sump pump and pit before winter sets in. Cleaning out the pit prior to winter will help alleviate the mess you will have on your hands should the pit freeze. If it is possible, maintain heat to the location. Keep basement heat ducts open to help keep the chill off the basement.
A little maintenance goes along way when it comes to your homes plumbing systems. If you see a leak, fix it. If a drain is slow, have the drain line cabled and run the camera to inspect it. If the garbage disposal stops grinding, replace it. Simply keeping up on maintenance will increase the longevity of your plumbing as well as help you catch minor repairs before they become major.
Horton Plumbing has been provided local plumbing solutions to residential and commercial clients for over 35 years now. From frozen pipes to broken sewer lines, our plumbers are here to help you 24/7.