With the holidays fast approaching, it's important to prepare your plumbing for winter. The harsh weather can wreak havoc on plumbing systems and cause leaks, clogs, and other problems. To prevent a plumbing emergency during the holiday season, check out these tips:
Wrap And Insulate Outdoor Pipes
The easiest thing to do for outdoor pipes is to wrap them with foam pipe insulation. You can also use heat tape, a self-regulating heating element, that’s wrapped around a pipe and protects it from freezing. This kind of protection should be applied before temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, so call a professional service provider, like FPG, to set this up now if you haven't already. Bringing in a professional to handle this for you will also give you the chance to have them attend to your other plumbing issues as you prepare for winter.
Cover Outdoor Hose Bibs
If your home has a nearby faucet that you use for your lawn sprinklers, cover it with a cap during the winter months to prevent water from freezing and breaking the pipe. You can buy caps at most hardware stores or make one from an old milk jug.
Keep The Heat On During A Winter Storm
One of the most important things you can do to keep your plumbing system in good working order is to make sure that it has heat. This is especially important during winter storms. But, even if you're in a milder climate or have air conditioning, it's still a good idea to keep your pipes warm. If temperatures dip below freezing point and stay there for more than a day or two, there's a risk of frozen pipes bursting and causing costly damage to your home.
Seal Around Rim Joists
The rim joist is the board that runs around the perimeter of your home and provides support for your walls. It's important to seal this area thoroughly because it’ll help prevent cold air from getting into your home through cracks in the wall or foundation, which can then cause major damage to pipes and appliances.
- Seal around windows and doors: This step is pretty straightforward. Make sure there aren't any gaps between your windows and door frames, so cold air won't be able to seep in through those areas.
- Seal around vents, pipes, wires, outlets/switches, etc.: Most homes have areas that may not have been constructed properly (like floorboards), so make sure you check these spots as well before winter hits you hard!
Clean Out Your Drains And Gutters
If you want to be prepared for the cold, you'll want to clean out your drains and gutters before winter hits. This will help prevent ice dams from forming over time, which can cause significant damage to your home's foundation.
Here are some things you can do to keep your drains and gutters in tip-top shape:
- Remove leaves and other debris that have collected at the bottom of the drains. Use a hose or snake to remove any obstructions.
- Spray down the drain with hot water until it runs clear (or as close as possible). If this doesn't work on its own, try using a chemical drain cleaner, like Drano, or another product designed specifically for cleaning drains.
Inspect Your Water Heater And Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve
Inspect your water heater and pressure relief valve. Although it may seem a bit early to be thinking of the winter weather, it's important to check that your home's plumbing is ready for the cold months ahead. Inspecting your hot water heater can help you avoid major problems, like leaks or burst pipes, in the future.
- First, check the pressure relief valve on top of your tank (the red cap). Is it damaged? If so, get in touch with a plumber right away; this could lead to serious damage if left alone. If everything seems okay here, move on to the next step.
- Check for rust or corrosion around where your pipes come out from under the house or into a crawlspace. If you see any signs of deterioration (such as cracks), call a professional immediately. You don't want this problem worsening over time!
- Make sure no parts inside your main tank are broken or missing. Inspect its burner chamber for dents; if there are any noticeable ones, then replace them before they spread outwards over time.
Winter is a great time to do a home inspection and make sure your plumbing system is running smoothly. It's also the perfect opportunity for you to check your water heater pressure relief valve and drain lines. If you detect any leaks or drips, contact a professional immediately.