As we transition from fall to winter, it’s important to make sure your plumbing is ready to face the colder weather. A lot of homeowners in warmer parts of the country assume that the change in temperature will not affect their plumbing equipment, yet it does not have to be below freezing for your pipes to freeze or your water heater to start malfunctioning. Fortunately, All City Plumbing is here to show you how to prepare your plumbing system for winter. Keep reading for what you need to know, and remember that our skilled plumbers are here seven days a week for all your plumbing needs.
Top Winter Plumbing Tips:
- Clear Your Property for Proper Drainage: Even if you do not live in a part of the country that experiences snow, it is still a good idea to make sure your yard and exterior property are ready for increased precipitation. Remove debris from your gutters and downspouts to ensure that proper drain runoff occurs, and you don’t end up having to deal with a slab leak or flooding.
- Adjust Your Water Heater Accordingly: It’s pretty much a given that your water heater is going to have to work harder during the wintertime, so you should adjust accordingly to make sure it doesn’t strain to provide your household with reliable hot water. Start by draining your tank (assuming you do not have a tankless system) to flush out any sediment build-up. You should also check to see if you need to replace your anode rod, as this component helps keep bacteria out of your tank and reduces the effects of hard water on your system. And finally, make sure your unit’s temperature setting does not go above 125 degrees, as this will not only prevent scalding, but help ensure the system does not waste energy trying to heat your water.
- Be Careful What You Put Down Your Garbage Disposal: The holidays is the peak season for big meals. Between Christmas and Thanksgiving, your kitchen is likely to get a workout, and that means your garbage disposal is likely to get one, too. To prevent having to a call for a repair, install a new impeller, or even replace your system altogether, avoid putting certain foods down your garbage disposal. Particularly dangerous ones include grease/fats/oils, heavy starches, fibrous vegetables, skins and rinds, seeds and nuts, coffee grounds, eggshells, and bones of any kind. Remember, your garbage disposal is only supposed to be used to take care of light food waste. When it comes to everything else? You’re better off just throwing it in the trash can.
- Know Where to Find Your Main Water Valve: If the pressure in your plumbing system suddenly changes and you end up dealing withburst pipes, you’re going to want to know where your home’s main shut-off valve is. The will allow you to stop the flow of water completely before any flooding occurs. The main water valve is usually located next to your water meter, which in turn is typically located in the basement, or – in the event that you do not have a replacement – on the wall of the house closest to the street. To make sure your main shut-off valve remains in good working condition, you should also open and close it at least once a year.
- Do What You Can to Protect Your Home from Frozen Pipes: To reiterate, it does not have to be as cold as you would think outside for your pipes to freeze. To help ensure that water continues to run smoothly through your lines this winter, drain all the taps on the exterior of your house completely, disconnect and store any hoses, cover the hose bibbs, and turn off all outside water valves. You should also keep an eye on your thermostat settings. While it is a good idea to set your thermostat lower in the winter to offset the cost of your heating system and conserve energy, setting it lower than roughly 45 degrees can have serious repercussions for your pipes. And finally, if you live in a part of the country that does frequently experience extreme cold, or if you live in a home with a lot of exposed pipes, consider installing some insulation to make sure they do not freeze. A few simple foam sheathes you can buy at the hardware store may save you from having to replace a frozen pipe when winter comes.
The other thing you can do to strengthen your plumbing this season? Don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber! Schedule some plumbing maintenance today by calling (909) 552-7550, or just click here to send us a message online.