Avoid frozen pipes and other winter plumbing problems with these tips
Cold weather and plumbing don’t always mix, especially when temperatures dip below freezing. Homeowners need to know this and take the necessary precautions to make sure their home’s plumbing can withstand the winter season.
Homeowners may come to regret not being proactive if they do encounter plumbing problems. Many of the most common issues can be expensive fixes that do a number on the area of the house where they occur.
Take frozen pipes, for example. One of the most common cold weather plumbing problems, frozen pipes, can lead to anything from a small leak to large bursts of water. Even a small leak caused by a thawing pipe can cost hundreds of dollars to fix. On the other end, a burst pipe that gushes water everywhere can easily run into the thousands of dollars if flooring, drywall and other areas of the home are damaged due to water from the frozen pipe.
There are other common winter plumbing issues that can also take a chunk out of your savings account, though. Here are the steps you need to take to avoid not only frozen pipes, but also other problems caused by cold temperatures.
Know how to shut off water to the home
Before we go further, you should make sure that you know where your home’s main water valve is located. Nobody wants any of these problems below to cause a leak or pipe burst, but if it does happen, then you will need to act quickly to turn off the water right away.
Normally, your home’s main water valve can be found near the water meter. This valve should be kept in good, working condition so that it will work when you need it to.
If you are planning to leave, say, to go see family for the holidays, then consider shutting off the water to your home to prevent any surprises when you return.
How to prevent frozen pipes
Frozen pipes, as we have already mentioned, can be a disaster waiting to happen for your kitchen, bathroom or anywhere else this problem can happen. Any pipe that is uninsulated and close to cold air is at risk of freezing.
However, there are ways to keep pipes from freezing in your home. Here are four good ideas you may want to try if you are concerned pipes in your home may freeze this winter.
1. Let water drip slowly from faucets
If you have a pipe that is struggling to stay warm, then one way to help the water it carries to keep flowing is to turn on a nearby faucet to allow for a slow drip. The moving water will help prevent freezing.
2. Keep doors open
Pipes can also benefit from having more warm air around them. So, if there is a specific room that struggles to keep temperature in the winter, be sure to keep doors to that room open to allow for the warm air from other parts of the house to spread to that room, too.
You can also keep cabinet doors open, too, to allow warm air to reach those pipes. This is a good idea for kitchens and bathrooms that may get a little colder in winter.
3. Wrap uninsulated pipes
Homeowners can wrap pipes with a layer of insulation to help the pipes maintain an above-freezing temperature. There are several options out there, as far as insulation materials go, and many are very reasonably priced. Some examples include foam tubes that wrap around the pipes and heat tape.
4. Keep the heat on
If you have a furnace that is running well and able to heat the house, then you can use the heat kicked out from your furnace to make sure the air temperature inside your home can help battle frozen pipes.
5. Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets
Pipes of faucets connected to garden hoses can often freeze and possibly burst if the garden hose is left connected to the faucet during the winter.
Sometimes, the hose can still have some water left in it, including near the faucet’s spigot. This water will expand when it freezes, which can not only damage the hose, but also cause pipes to crack. Your best bet is to unscrew the hose and store it elsewhere to prevent this from happening.
Check your water heater
Nobody wants their water heater to go out, but it’s especially poor timing for this to happen in the dead of winter – which so happens to be the time where you are using hot water more than ever.
Have a plumber come out to your house before winter sets in to give your water heater a close inspection. There are several parts that the plumber will look at and may recommend replacing to make sure you don’t get left with cold water when it’s already cold outside.
Clean the sump pump and its pit
Homes with sump pumps need to have their units and the pits they are in cleaned before winter sets in. If the pump gets too cold, then it can freeze. If this happens, then you will have a mess on your hands.
Be sure to keep the sump pump and its pit clean. Try to maintain some heat in the basement, too, to help it out even more.
Fix existing leaks in your home
Any leak in your home is a problem that should never be ignored. If you know of existing leaks, then it’s probably best to get those looked at by a trusted and reliable plumber before a small leak becomes a major issue.
Comfortec can help with winter plumbing problems
Whether you are looking to prevent winter plumbing problems, or have unfortunately encountered one yourself, the licensed and experienced professionals at Comfortec are here to help.
Comfortec can handle everything from leaky faucets, to broken pipes, to the installation of bathtubs, showers, sinks and much more.
We are also available 24 hours a day for emergency services calls. Just call toll free 888-362-2106 and we will have someone helping you out in no time. Otherwise, schedule an appointment by filling out our contact form.
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