How to Get Your Plumbing Winter-Ready
Winter is coming! Is your plumbing ready? Here are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you’re ready for the cold season.
Get your boiler or furnace checked. Annual inspection and maintenance is important, and fall is the best time to do it because, after a long summer of little-to-no use, the transition to being used regularly again is the most common time for a boiler or furnace to break down.
The fall is also a good time to have your sump pump checked to ensure it’s working properly in case you have any flooding over the winter.
Insulate Your Pipes
If a pipe freezes, the ice can easily crack the pipe open, which will cause a whole mess of water damage, a costly repair bill, and a huge headache. It’s definitely worth it to take preventative measures and avoid this situation. In the fall, wrap insulation (such as foam or heat tape) around any exposed pipes in your home.
Prep Your Outdoor Spigots
Disconnect any outdoor hoses and store them coiled in a sheltered place for the winter. Cover the sillcock (the outdoor spigot, also known as a hose bib) with insulation or an insulated sleeve. These sleeves can be purchased in different sizes from most hardware stores.
You can also consider installing a frost-free sillcock to prevent freezing even more effectively. A frost-free sillcock has a longer stem which positions the valve and washer inside your walls so that these mechanisms stay warm enough that they don’t freeze.
Plan for When You’re Not There
If warmer climates beckon and you’re going out of town at all over the winter, there are a few things you can do to prevent any nasty frozen-pipe-related damages while you’re away. Don’t turn your heat all the way off when you leave. Instead, leave it on at a low temperature to keep everything somewhat warm and prevent freezing. Also, be sure you remember to shut off the water main while you’re gone. That way, if a pipe does freeze and break while you’re not there to deal with it, there will be significantly less damage if the water main is off when it happens.
What to Do in a Sudden Cold Snap
When temperatures drop suddenly, it is easy for pipes to freeze. There are a couple of things you can do when this happens. It’s a good idea to open up any cupboards beneath sinks in your home. This allows the heat from your house to go into the cabinet and warm pipes under the sink so that they don’t freeze as easily. If you have a space heater, you can position it to send warm air into the cabinet for extra heat.
If you know it’s going to be a particularly cold night, leave your taps on a tiny bit so that they drip. The small amount of water flow will prevent freezing overnight.
If you do end up with a burst pipe due to freezing (and we hope you don’t!) or any other plumbing emergency, call John Sadler Plumbing and we’ll send an expert technician ASAP.