Avoid Winter Plumbing Problems
Here’s your winter plumbing checklist:
- Turn off all of your outdoor water valves/faucets. As soon as the temperature drops below freezing, your pipes are at risk for freezing and rupturing. This can result in a big, expensive mess. According to State Farm Insurance, a pipe rupture can cause as much as $15,000 in damage. To avoid this, turn off all your outdoor water valves, drain your hoses, and store them away. Leaving a water hose connected to an outdoor faucet any time of the year is a bad idea, but in the winter it can result in catastrophic damage to your home. “Frost-proof” outside faucets will freeze and break unless they can drain out. A water hose connected may prevent it from draining….. Next, look for pipes running along your outer walls: are they insulated? If not, this is job #1. These pipes are exceptionally vulnerable to freezing. If you have a crawl space, is the door closed? Are there open-air vents allowing cold air from the outside to blow through the crawl space? Some homes have automatic vents that are designed to close when temperatures drop. These can fail and stick in the “open” position. If you have manual vents, have then been closed and sealed?
- WATER WELL: If your home is being supplied water from a private well, is the well-head piping weather resistant? Is there a cover over the well and if so is it weather tight? We receive a lot of calls from homeowners unaware that the well-head can freeze resulting in possible severe damage to piping and may even cause the pump system to fail. Please be aware that electrical wiring is usually in the wellhead so be aware, be alert and work safely. If you are not skilled, you may wish to call a professional.
- Now go inside. How are your indoor pipes in unheated areas (Garages etc.,) doing in terms of insulation? In extreme cold snaps, they can freeze and burst. Can you add heat to the area or wrap them in pipe insulation? This may be an inexpensive task and requires only a trip to your local home improvement store. When we’re in for a record-breaking cold, you may choose to let your faucets drip slowly, to keep the water flowing. But remember that cold weather can occur during the late winter/early spring too, so please be weather aware!
- Locate Your water main. Do you know where your main water valve is? Now’s the time to find it. If you have a burst pipe, you need to shut off the water immediately. If you’re not sure, we are happy to help you locate it and show you what to do in an emergency.
- Check your water heater. Many of us have our furnaces or heating units serviced or cleaned each year. But do you check your water heater? Call in a professional plumbing service to check functioning and make any repairs necessary because of wear or corrosion. The average life-span of a water heater is largely determined by water quality. Do you have good quality water or is it corrosive, alkaline or acidic? We can have the water tested for you.
- If you’re traveling, conserve energy - but don’t turn the heat off! You may feel that there is no sense heating a home to 65 - 70 degrees if you’re not going to be there, right? However, if you’re going to be away from home for an extended period, will you need some heat to keep the plumbing pipes from freezing? Far worse than coming home to a cool house is coming home to burst pipes and extensive water damage. Structural damage to the home may also occur if a home is left unheated. It is not a good idea to turn the heat off! Could you set the thermostat lower? That is a question for you to decide for your individual structure and design needs.
Action Service Company is here to help ensure your plumbing system is ready for winter and will not result in unnecessary hassles and headaches for you. No one can anticipate every potential issue, so if there is an emergency or problem, do not hesitate to reach out to Statesville’s most trusted plumbers. We’ll be there.