As the first snow of the season begins to fall, so will the temperatures outside. The onset of cold weather can wreak havoc on your home and contribute to potential plumbing issues; frozen or cracked pipes, flooding and leaks are just a few common undesired plumbing issues. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help maintain your home’s plumbing system, and help avoid your plumbing system failing you during the winter months.
Eliminate Drafts and Protect Your Pipes from Freezing
Search for the areas throughout your home with supply lines that are unheated, such as, the basement, attic or the garage. If they are un-insulated, insulate the area to avoid freezing of the water line. Angieslist.com suggests insulating the un-insulated pipes in a blanket of foam by cutting the insulated tube to the length that you need , open and wrap it around your pipe and then duct tape to secure the foam in place. If you notice slower water flow and suspect the possibility of frozen pipes, you should call a plumber immediately. Often times, issues like this can be resolved before any major damage, such as a burst pipe, occurs.
Prevent Clogged Drains
You should always avoid pouring fats or cooking oils down the drain. Pouring these items down the drain increases the risk of these oils cooling and hardening inside your pipes, especially when your pipes are cold. Another way to reduce clogs, is to run cold water down the drain for about 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposer to flush waste down the main line. Never put hard-to-grind, stringy, fibrous waste into the garbage disposer (poultry skins, carrots, celery, pumpkin pulp or banana peels). The disposer can't sufficiently grind these items and they will likely clog your sink drain. Always turn your disposer on and then dump the waste into the disposer.
Fix a Leaking Pipe NOW
Fix a dripping pipe before it becomes a larger issue. To avoid discovering a leaking pipe before it’s too late, go around your home and check every faucet; kitchen, bathroom and utility room for leaking water or puddles. If you discover a leaking pipe call a plumber for an immediate repair.
Detach Outdoor Hoses
Don’t leave your outdoor garden houses attached to spigots. Be sure to detach these hoses before freezing temperatures arrive. It is important to close the shut-off valve on the pipe that lead to your outdoor spigots. Leaving a hose connected outside in winter can cause the remaining water to freeze and expand, as a result, freeze your pipes as well.
Drain Your Water Heater
According to Angieslist.com, if you have hard water, sediment can build up within your tank. This build up can lead to rust inside of the tank, and eventually find its way into your drinking, cooking and bathing water.
If want to keep your home maintained for the winter, but want to avoid the work of the tasks listed above, contact Thermal Services for more information about our Plumbing Maintenance Plans. Let Thermal Services do the preventative maintenance check for you. Call one of our plumbing professionals if you encounter the need for a plumbing fix or plumbing emergency.