Knowhow-Now Article

Suggestions To Prepare Your Plumbing System For The Colder Months

Every homeowner in the world needs to ensure that their plumbing is maintained and prepared for the fall and winter months. There is nothing worse than waking up to a busted pipe under the house or a frozen pipe outside because we had a sudden temperature drop. The expense of hiring a professional plumber in those cases can be excessive considering some simple maintenance and preventative measures would have stopped the issue from occurring in the first place. This article will offer suggestions as to what can be done to plan for the colder seasons and protect your finances from unnecessary plumbing repair expenses. Please continue reading to learn more and pass along the information to others to ensure peace of mind during cold weather months.

Tip: If you discover a pipe has frozen, open a tap on the line to allow the thawing ice to drain. This helps decrease any pressure in order to prevent burst pipes.

You should always remove and drain garden hoses and store them in a sheltered location, such as a shed, garage or basement. When hoses are left connected to the outdoor faucet, the water in the hose will freeze and damage not only the hose but the pipe as well. The cold from the frozen hose is directed directly into the pipe freezing the area closest to the faucet just inside the wall. This leads to bursting and an expensive repair that you may need a professional to complete.

Tip: Never reach into a garbage disposal that you think isn't working. Garbage disposals are dangerous, even when turned off.

You should also insulate all exposed pipes. By exposed we mean those that are at the mercy of the cold temperature. These will be those inside the home running along outside walls, like those under a kitchen sink and those under a home in a crawlspace or basement that is not climate controlled. These pipes are subject to changes in temperature and often freeze faster that those outdoors which are buried and insulated by the ground. Insulation for pipes is relatively cheap and 50 bucks worth will cover the whole home in most cases with a little left over.

Tip: If you want to look for floor damage around your toilet, just check the flooring for softness. Sit on your toilet and sway across both feet to feel if there are any spots less firm than the others.

Your water heater may not be subject to issues due to the weather changes but it should be maintained at this time. It should be drained to remove hard water deposits from inside the tank as well as have the elements looked at for possible replacement. In most cases, elements will become surrounded by hard water deposits and not heat the water properly. In rural areas this should actually be done at least once a year as a poor element will increase energy costs as it has to work harder to meet the set temperature of the tank. Those on city water can usually go a few years before replacing elements but it does need to be looked at during your annual maintenance.

Tip: If your home runs on well water and you notice any orange or pink stains in your fixtures or tub, this is because of iron in your water. You can combat this by using a water softener.

One area we need to focus on is cracks in the foundation or gaps in walls where pipes can be affected by air flowing into the home. Canned insulation is ideal for situations like this and will only set you back around 5 dollars a can. The spray will expand as it dries and can be shaped with a utility knife to remove any excess that may be an eyesore.

Taking these precautions to prepare your home for the fall and winter weather will reduce the risk of plumbing emergencies greatly. When you consider the amount of time it takes to maintain your plumbing as opposed to excessive repair costs, you will certainly mark a date on the calendar to follow these suggestions annually.

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