The fall and winter months pose a unique set of plumbing problems for your home. It is a good idea to properly prepare early before it starts to get cold. The last thing you want during the holidays is a plugged sink, leaking shower or overflowing toilet. During the winter, you normally spend more time inside, this is why it is especially important for you to have highly functioning plumbing and heating systems.
Compost leftover foods
This isn't something specific to the winter months, you should practice composting all year round. However, during the winter, the majority of cooking is done inside. There are no more summer BBQ's when there's snow out, and a picnic in the park is out of the question. Food can gather in your sink over the winter months, with an increase in family gatherings and eating indoors. Be sure you dispose of it in a sustainable way, to avoid clogged sinks.
Watch for frozen pipes
In the sub-zero temperatures, there is a chance that the water in your pipes will freeze. This can cause the pipes to burst and rupture because water expands when it is frozen solid. The resulting ice can put intense pressure on your pipes, eventually causing them to warp and rupture. Even if your pipes do not break, you will immediately notice when they are frozen because you will not have flowing water. The water will be ice and won't move in the pipes. Be sure you have a proper heating and insulation system in place before the winter months.
If your pipes do end up frozen, the fastest way to unfreeze the water is too warm the air around the pipes. Turn up the heat in your home. If that is not possible, manually apply heat to the frozen pipe, in the form of hot towels or standing heaters. If you notice any cracks or leaks in the pipe, call your plumber immediately.
Insulate your pipes
If you have pipes that are directly exposed to the elements, there is a good chance that they will freeze if the temperatures drop low. Insulate your pipes by wrapping them with insulated tape. You can purchase “all weather” tape that is water resistant and keeps heat in. This is commonly used for electrical cables, but it can be useful for your pipes in the cold!
Check up on your water heater
The winter is when you use hot water the most. It is a good idea to prepare for sub-zero temperatures by servicing your water heater. You can have it drained and repaired if necessary so that it is fully functional when you need it most.
Away for the holidays?
If you are planning a trip over the winter break, whether you are going for a weekend to visit relatives, or leaving for several months, it is a good idea to shut off the water in your home. If your pipes freeze while you are away, there is only a limited amount of water in the pipes that can cause damage when you turn the water valves off.
When you want to take it a step further, you can contact your local plumbers and have your pipes drained before you leave. This ensures that your pipes are free of any water while you are away, which will fully prevent them from freezing.
Call your plumber!
Let your local plumbing company know that you are concerned about your pipes freezing. If you have frozen pipes, call your plumber immediately. Leaking water from these pipes is not only a waste of water, it is also a hazard to those in your home, as well as your house itself.