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The temperatures are dropping and winter is coming. Take some time to be sure your plumbing system will avoid any challenges due to potential freezing weather. Garden hose faucets need to have all hoses removed from the faucet to allow the frost free type to drain and those that are not frost free to be covered with an insulated cover. Garden hose faucets installed on the front of your garage may have a water supply line running through an unheated space. Therefore could have a shut off valve installed that needs to be turned off and the line drained.
If you have a crawl space under your home and there is water piping running near the vents, you may want to consider closing off those vents for the winter with a piece of a foam insulator board that is cut to fit your vent. Please note: These covers must be removed in the spring to allow the crawl space area to be vented again.
Outdoor lawn sprinkler systems need to be drained for the winter as they are typically very shallow under the ground and therefore not protected from freezing.
As the weather gets colder, it is important to perform preventive measures with your plumbing system in order to avoid major and costly damage. You want to avoid leaky pipes, broken water heaters, and clogged drains. Here are some tips to prepare you for colder weather.
It is a common misconception that frozen pipes burst at the point they are frozen. This makes sense – when water freezes into ice, it expands and fills up more space. If the contents of the pipe expand, it would make sense that it would burst.
Most cracks or damages happen away from the point where the pipes are frozen, however. This is because the water pressure begins increasing dramatically as the ice closes off and clogs the pipe. So, the pipe will crack due to the water having nowhere to go, not the ice itself.
If you are concerned about winterizing your plumbing, but do not have the time or energy to dedicate towards these and more winterizing measures, remember that At Your Service Plumbing is here for your home plumbing needs. We offer maintenance services as well as repairs and we’d rather see you come to us to prevent damage than see you already have a damaged home.
When you leave for an extended time, it is likely you remember to stop the newspaper and have your mail held or picked up by someone else. But do you ever consider what would happen if you sprung a leak somewhere in your plumbing system? Probably not – unless you have experienced this in the past!
“It is a wise idea to shut down your water system before you leave to prevent costly damage from water if you have a leak. I was lucky the day I had an emergency shut off valve to my dishwasher break – I was home! There was hot water spraying and steaming inside my kitchen cabinet. Fortunately, it was discovered fairly quickly and I was able to shut my water off and drain the water to avoid any more damage. This event could have had an entirely different outcome had we been away on vacation!” – Kathy Thaut, Owner
Here is a list of steps you should consider when leaving your home for an extended period of time:
This will avoid any chance of the element burning out. Elements in an electric water heater must always be covered with water when they are heating. When the water is off, you should always turn the power to your electric water heater off also. If you have a natural gas or propane water heater, you can turn the thermostat down to the “vacation” setting to save on gas and to avoid having to relight the pilot light when you return. If you have an instant hot water machine, unplug the unit from the power outlet. If you have any type of filtration system, you will want to be sure it is turned off also.
Inspect your pipes and faucets for any drips or leaks. These can become major problems while you are away! Instead, if you find a dripping faucet or pipe, call At Your Service Plumbing and we’ll fix it as soon as we can so you can go on vacation with a peaceful mind.
Close your main emergency valve by putting it in the off position. If you do not have one or you do not know where yours is located, contact At Your Service Plumbing for assistance.
Open up a faucet on the lowest floor in order to drain the water system. This is especially true in the winter where extreme weather and power outages can cause water in the lines to freeze. Another hint for those of you traveling during the winter months is to add antifreeze to your toilet bowls to avoid the water freezing and cracking the toilet during a power outage and no heat!
If you have someone watching your home while you are away, be sure to leave them the phone number for At Your Service Plumbing. We answer our phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week for those needing emergency assistance.
Have a great vacation!