Knowhow-Now Article

Protect Your Plumbing From Disaster During The Winter

The winter season can be a time when a lot of plumbing problems develop. The freezing temperatures can damage pipes and cause leaks. When water freezes, it expands. Imagine water freezing and expanding inside a narrow pipe. That leads to a high risk of the pipes bursting. When that happens, not only will you have damaged pipes, but the water leaks can do serious damage to your home. This can end up costing you thousands of dollars in home repair. If this has gotten you worried, you should make a point to learn how to prevent it. This article will provide advice on simple precautions that you should take to protect your pipes from winter damage.

Tip: While various toilet tablets and odor removers may be tempting, it's best not to use them in your toilet. These products can be great when it comes to getting rid of odors, but unfortunately, they can cause significant damage to the rubber portions of your toilet.

The easiest thing to do is to insulate your pipes. This is especially important for sections of pipe that have outside exposure or close to outside exposure. This includes pipes that are in your un-insulated spaces like your crawlspace, attic, etc. Before the winter cold arrives, prepare to wrap your pipes. First, clean off the dirt and grime from your pipes with some soapy water and a rag. Let the pipes dry thoroughly. Then, wrap your pipes with tubing made from foam or fiberglass that is designed specifically for pipes. Be sure that you completely wrap the pips, leaving no gaps at corners or where the insulation pieces meet. Use duct tape to secure the insulation in place.

Tip: If your toilet gets clogged, there is a low level of water in toilet, and the plunger is not working, you may fix the problem by dumping warm water from a bucket into your toilet from about waist level. Once the water level gets low again, repeat the process.

Drain your garden hose. Remove your garden hose from your pipe outside and store it away. Put caulk around the pipe sections that enter your house. There are many types of caulk for different purposes. Consult with a plumbing specialist at your local hardware store to see which type of caulking would be the best for this application.

Tip: Don't pour oils, grease or fat down the drain. As they cool off, they can solidify and effectively create clogs and blockages in your drains.

You should know where your shut-off valves are. If you have shut-off valves in your basement that goes to your exterior faucets, shut off the water to each one. Go outside and turn on the faucets to drain out the rest of the water. Leave the faucets in the open position. If you are not able to turn off your exterior faucets and drain the water, then you will need to insulate them. Get some foam insulating covers from your hardware store and wrap them around your faucets.

Tip: Schedule your plumbing jobs all together. Of course, our natural inclination is to handle problems as they arise, but it helps to get everything done at once.

In extreme cold conditions, you can take extra precautionary steps to prevent your pipes from freezing. You may want to consider leaving a faucet on during the night. You just need a small drip of hot and cold water going through your pipes to keep the water moving and prevent the pipes from freezing over.

Tip: If you've got a shower head to replace, get a good quality replacement. People will buy the cheapest option thinking it will do the job they need it to do.

Set the temperature on your thermostat at the same level during both day and night. A lot of people like to turn down the heat when the sleep at night because they are under their warm comforters. However, if you turn down the heat at night, the extremely cold temperatures overnight can freeze your pipes.

Tip: Use a cleaner that is enzyme based if you want to clean clogged pipes. The natural enzymes in these cleaners dissolve the clog, turning it into liquid, freeing it from the pipes.

You have pipes under your sink and appliance cabinets inside your house. These pipes are usually un-insulated. Open the cabinet doors to let warm air circulate through those spaces to keep those pipes from freezing.

These simple tips can save your home from broken pipes. Just a little effort in prevention can make all the difference.

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