Knowhow-Now Article

Winter Plumbing: Dealing With Pipes

If you own a home, there is a lot that can go wrong. You know all the stresses about different things breaking, but one of the worst can be to have freezing pipes in the wintertime. Winter is the one season where you need warm water for bathing and doing other activities. If you live in an area that sees freezing temperatures from time to time in the winter, you need to make sure that you avoid frozen pipes.

Tip: Installing shower heads that are more effective can save you a lot on your energy head. Showers and baths are responsible for the bulk of your hot water usage.

Why are frozen pipes so bad? When pipes freeze, the water inside becomes cold and can freeze as well. What happens when water freezes? It gets bigger and expands, possibly resulting in exploding pipes which can ruin your home or cost you a great deal of money to fix. Not only that, but you will have no water. That's why it's critical that you prevent your pipes from freezing if you can. Hopefully this article will help you.

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The first step is of course to know where your pipes are. Where are they exposed to the cold? When you know that, you need to take a look at where they are and what they look like. You might even want to call in a professional to make an assessment about how they're doing.

Tip: If you have unwanted water that drains in your dishwasher, it's probably due to the kitchen sink's hose being improperly installed. The hose going from the dishwasher to the sink needs to angle uphill before going back downhill to prevent water from both being mixed.

If you can see the pipes out of the ground, the easiest thing to do is to take foam and wrap the pipes. They also make pipe wrap for this purpose. Neither method costs much. If you are a handyman, you can even build a litle shelter to surround your pipes. Yet another option, if your pipes are in your basement for example, is to wrap them in heat tape.

Tip: Having your septic tank pumped out on a regular basis will keep it functioning properly. This will keep sediment from hanging out in your tank and eventually causing there to be a backup in your home.

When it becomes cold, take steps to prevent frozen pipes. Run a tiny stream of water during the night in order to stop freezing from occurring. Do this with both hot and cold water, because each of those pipes can freeze. You may even open your cupboards to fully expose indoor pipes to the warmer air in your home.

Tip: Good maintenance is the best way to prevent leaks in your sinks and faucets. Check pipes for leaks or problems at regular intervals so that you don't end up paying a large water bill.

In the event that you wake up one night and your pipes have frozen, address it right away. Take a blowdryer and simply warm the pipes that way, or use a space heater for the job. Avoid anything like a torch, which could make the problem worse. Watch your drains as well, as the sediment and gunk inside could freeze too. If you suspect the drain has frozen, pour hot water down the drain until it clears.

Tip: A plumber's work goes well beyond fixing toilets and pipes. Plumbers are routinely called on to repair water lines.

If you're going to be away in the winter for any long period, turn off the water supply to your house. You should be aware of where the main shut-off valve is, so simply take care of that. Also make sure to drain the pipes so that the water is not sitting there waiting to freeze.

If you use these tips to help you avoid frozen pipes, you should be in good shape. Frozen pipes are one of the nightmares that any homeowner has and can result in a lot of money and time lost. Plan beforehand and do preventative work, and you will be fine.

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