The confusion in home plumbing can easily be avoided if homeowners take precautions and perform proper maintenance. Follow these steps to prevent a costly plumbing repair and show your plumbing system a little love…
1. Check for leaks.
Even the smallest leak in your faucets and pipes can lead to flooding if not noticed or taken care of immediately… The resulting damage can require substantial home and plumbing repair which can be quite costly. It is important to check all exterior walls, unheated basements, garages and crawl spaces, especially those areas that lack insulation. Little to no insulation leaves pipes more vulnerable to the elements, making them more likely to crack and leak. Getting in contact with a residential plumber can also be useful as they can help you scope out trouble areas and can give you an overview of how to prepare and maintain your plumbing over the winter months.
2. Drain and insulate.
Draining and insulating all outdoor faucets and pipes in your home plumbing system before winter sets in is a must… Any water that gets trapped in those pipes can freeze, expand, and then crack, break, or burst the pipes. Securing these exterior pipes can help you avoid dealing with property damages and unpleasant plumbing repair. Here are some ways to prepare your exterior pipes for the winter:
- Drain and disconnect all garden hoses and use a hose bib or faucet cover to insulate your outdoor faucets from freezing temperatures.
- For irrigation systems, shut off the water flow into the system and drain all water from the pipes.
For further assistance in preventing costly plumbing repairs, most residential plumbers can help you with the draining and insulating process for your home plumbing.
3. Weatherproof trouble areas.
The next step is to look out for areas containing exposed plumbing… Doorways, windows, and vent fans should be checked to make sure their seals remain tight. If a seal is loose, it can be fixed with caulking to keep your home plumbing from freezing. Also make sure to repair any cracked windows as they can lead to freezing temperatures coming in contact with your plumbing and can result in expensive plumbing repair costs.
4. Insulate exposed pipes.
Instead of sealing off all airflow in your home, which can potentially lead to mold growth, you should make sure your pipes are properly insulated so that they can stand up against cold winter air. As an easy and inexpensive procedure, insulating your home plumbing is the way to go. It can be as easy as installing foam tubing or towels around your pipes. This can help your water heater retain heat (and therefore lower those pricey energy bills). Exposed pipes near electrical sources should be insulated with electrical heating tape. Heat tape, which can be wrapped around the pipes, is a great tool for providing just enough heat to keep your pipes from freezing.
5. Keep indoor pipes warm
Though many wintertime home plumbing issues are due to outdoor pipes, you mustn’t forget about your indoor plumbing. Indoor pipes can also freeze in cold weather, so doing things such as opening cabinet doors to expose your pipes to your home’s heat can help prevent internal home plumbing issues. When you plan on being away from home for an extended period of time, make sure to set your interior thermostat to a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Letting your indoor faucets drip steadily when the temperature outside drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit can help prevent pipes from bursting and causing serious damages.
6. Sign up for a home plumbing maintenance program.
As residential plumbers recommend, keeping a close eye on and maintaining your home plumbing system regularly can save you from spending lots of time and money on damages and repairs. You can also consider signing up for a plumbing maintenance program so that you will know what to do in case of a plumbing problem. These programs can help extend the life of your appliances and ensure your plumbing warranties stay up-to-date. A plumbing maintenance program will set your mind at ease as your home plumbing will be in capable hands.