Depending on your locale, dealing with plumbing concerns during the winter months can turn a great time of year into a total nightmare. As temperatures drop to freezing and below, plumbing disasters associated with frozen pipes, fixtures, and valves can be a real cause for concern. Thankfully, there are some preventative tips you can follow to help ensure your home is protected and ready for the upcoming winter season. Below you will find some essential winter preparation tips to help ensure you and your home avoid any plumbing related disasters.
Inspect Your Pipes Early
The best measure against winter plumbing disasters is preparation. By inspecting your pipes early, you can get a sense of your current situation, and still have ample time to make any alterations. While you'll want to check for any leaks, ensuring your pipes are insulated in the dangerous areas will also be important. Any pipes that are exposed directly to the outside environment are susceptible to freezing, so insulate all pipes (hot and cold) that may be unprotected. Non-insulated basements are also danger-zones for freezing pipes.
Run The Water Often
By running the water from each and every faucet, valve, and fixture throughout the winter months, you can help prevent your pipes from freezing. Pipes that sit for prolonged periods of time have a greater chance of freezing than those that are frequently being used. Running the water every couple days should be sufficient for preventing freezes. This includes not just the fixtures inside, but outside your house as well. However, you can also close any shut-off valves leading to outside spigots to avoid running water to outside sources. Just make sure to wrap up and put away any hoses to avoid winter damages.
Check For Drafts
Part of preventing cold temperatures from wreaking havoc on your piping is keeping the cold out to begin with. By thoroughly inspecting your home for cracks, spaces, and anything else that could create a draft, you'll help not only cut-down on your energy expenditures related to heating, but you'll help keep your piping safe from excessive temperatures. Insulating and weather-resistant foam can be purchased to help seal up any drafts found.
Maintain The Water Heater
During the winter season, your water heater goes into overdrive. So, in order to help keep your water heater in top working condition, consider flushing out any sediment buildup before the winter season arrives. Doing so can greatly improve the lifespan, efficiency, and output of your water heater. Check your manufacturer's manual for specific instructions on how to flush your model.
Aside from flushing your water heater, it is highly suggested to also test the pressure relief valve. If you've never tested the pressure relief valve, consider consulting a plumber like one from Pitton Plumbing first as damage could incur if there is any corrosion, cracks, or rust surrounding the valve. As always, whatever you do, proceed with caution as the water heater contains extremely hot water.
The winter season is something that should be anticipated and enjoyed, not dreaded and relished. By being proactive and checking your home for plumbing disasters early on, you can help ensure that you and your family enjoy the winter season, as opposed to spending it fixing leaks, frozen pipes, and broken radiators. Hopefully this article has provided you with enough information to protect your home, and look forward to the coming winter months.