While it’s easy to overlook the importance of preparing your plumbing for winter, neglecting this simple task could result in costly damage to your home. You never want to jeopardize your household safety and comfort when temperatures dip. Here are eight tips for prepping your plumbing system for the coldest season ahead.
1. Insulate Exposed Piping
A cool glass of fresh tap water is always hard to pass up in the heat of summer. However, if your water supply seems colder than normal in January, this is a good indicator that you need to insulate your exposed pipes.
A burst plumbing system in the middle of winter can be challenging to repair. Moreover, you might be shocked at the associated expenses. To protect your home plumbing from freezing temperatures, you’ll have to insulate any exposed pipes. You can achieve this by having a professional inspect your exterior walls and poorly insulated areas in or under your home.
If the licensed plumber determines that your pipes have too much exposure to the cold, you should take steps to insulate them. Installing insulation in your walls is the most common way to protect your plumbing system from the cold. One of our specialists can also insert foam sleeves or heating tape around your pipes to prevent them from bursting or cracking due to cold weather.
2. Let Your Faucets Drip
When temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or you lose power during winter, let a few faucets drip throughout the house. Under ideal circumstances, you should turn your faucets on to a drip just before temperatures slip. If you can’t do this before it gets too cold, try dripping your faucets within the first two hours of sub-20-degree weather.
Moving water is less likely to freeze than stationary water. Therefore, running water decreases the likelihood of pipes freezing in your home’s unheated and poorly insulated areas. Pipes in your attic, garage, crawl spaces, and unheated portions of your basement are all subject to freezing.
3. Maintain a Consistent Indoor Temperature
When traveling over the winter holidays, it might be tempting to turn your heater off to save on energy costs. However, this can put you at risk of a burst pipe while away. Keeping your thermostat between 50- and 60-degrees Fahrenheit when you’re on vacation in winter is one of the best ways to protect your home. While you’ll see a higher energy bill than you’d like, you won’t have to worry about your home turning into an ice sculpture while on vacation.
When you are home, keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. The higher interior temperatures protect your home inside and out.
4. Trim Overgrown Trees and Shrubs
Believe it or not, overhanging branches or shrubs are common causes of plumbing system disasters during winter. While rare, Anaheim has occasionally seen more than 2 feet of snow. Heavy snow or ice can cause tree branches to fall, damaging exposed exterior piping.
You might be surprised to know that, in temperate climates like Southern California, landscaping shrubs experience most of their root growth during winter. Segments of your underground piping may already have small leaks. In this case, your trees and shrub roots will gravitate toward this moisture source.
Eventually, the roots will infiltrate the pipes through these small cracks or holes. This can cause clogs and cause your sewer system to back up. It also puts undue stress on the pipes. Look for abnormally growing shrubs and trees close to your house to identify this potential issue. Foul odors or a backed-up sewer might also indicate a problem with invasive tree and shrub roots interfering with your plumbing.
5. Check Gutter and Downspout Connections
The purpose of gutters and downspouts is to direct water away from your home. Depending on your situation, the water should either be directed onto your property or into the city’s stormwater drainage system. If the downspout is improperly connected to your wastewater drainage, this could result in problems. If you have an older home and the downspout connects to underground pipes, having a plumber check that it is connected properly might be good.
While not technically a plumbing issue, a clogged gutter or downspout can cause water to back up near your roof or your home’s foundation. Be sure to clear debris, such as leaves and twigs, from gutters and downspouts in the fall. This can go a long way toward preventing water damage to your home.
6. Check All Outdoor Faucets
One of the simplest ways to prevent winter water-related problems is to disconnect your garden hoses and drain any residual water from outdoor faucets. The best time to do this is before temperatures drop. It’s also a good idea to cover your exterior faucets before winter. This solution protects the exposed outdoor faucets and plumbing.
The team at Avis Home Solutions can install a freeze-proof faucet if you are worried about winterizing your outdoor plumbing. These products are designed to work under freezing conditions and let you run your water outside year-round.
7. Verify Water Heater Function
Always confirm that your heater works as it should before the colder months arrive. If you have an aging unit, consider getting it inspected by a professional. This can notify you of a pending failure so that you can replace it before the coldest months of the year.
An improperly maintained unit will impact efficiency and could shorten the water heater’s lifespan. Compromised water heater efficiency can be particularly troublesome during winter. Consider flushing your water heater in the fall to remove sediment buildup. We offer water heater maintenance, repair, and replacement. You could also consider upgrading to a tankless or solar water heater.
8. Locate Your Main Water Shut-Off Valve
Even though you might not expect a water emergency in winter, you should always prepare for the worst. Knowing the location of your main water shut-off valve is crucial for responding to a significant plumbing issue any time of year.
If a pipe bursts, you’ll need to shut off the water supply quickly. Locating your main water shut-off valve in advance is a reliable approach for mitigating potentially expensive damage.
Finding a Reliable Plumbing Contractor in Anaheim
In the current market, a reputable local plumber in Orange County that offers reliable emergency services can be hard to come by. When a pipe bursts or you experience another plumbing emergency, time is of the essence.
Having a reliable plumbing professional like Avis Home Solutions at your fingertips during the coldest winter can be invaluable. Our seasoned professionals can help you restore water function after an abrupt stoppage and help prevent further damage.
At Avis Home Solutions, we offer a full range of HVAC and plumbing services. This includes heating and cooling installation, repair, and maintenance. We also offer indoor air quality solutions. You can also contact us for any plumbing situation. We’re happy to help with bathroom and kitchen remodels, drain and sewer issues, and water treatment systems. To schedule a service or learn more about safeguarding your home from a cold-weather plumbing disaster, call the experts at Avis Home Solutions in Anaheim, CA today.