As the temperature continues to drop, homeowners need to be vigilant about caring for their plumbing through the winter months. If you go about your business just as you would in the summer months, you may be risking plumbing problems that would otherwise be preventable.
During cold weather, disconnect your garden hose. If it’s left connected during really cold weather, ice can build up pressure in your home’s water lines, which may lead to a leak or break. Consider an insulated faucet jacket to avoid ice build-up, not only in your outdoor faucets but the connecting lines in your home.
How Holiday Fun Can Be a Plumbing Disaster
It’s not all about the weather. Winter months mean holiday parties and even just informal gatherings of friends and family. It’s a festive time, which means there will be more stuff going down your drains. Your pipes already have the normal risk of gradual clogging from grease, hair, food particles, and other items. The next big holiday party may be what puts it over the edge and you’re stuck with clogged drains.
The quickest route to clogging your drains is fats and cooking oils, which solidify after use. Wipe the congealed fat and oil from pots and pans before they get washed down your drain. You should also avoid placing fibrous waste in your garbage disposal (celery, carrots, etc.) which doesn’t do an adequate job of breaking the material down. Run cold water down the drain for 10 seconds or so before and after using the garbage disposal to ensure an efficient flushing of the waste.
Always Maintain Moderate Indoor Temperatures
Circulating warm air helps keep your pipes from freezing. While it’s a great cost-saving measure to lower your thermostat when you are away from the house, keep it at least in the mid 50s to prevent freezing pipes. You can also keep pipes warmer by opening cabinets where they reside to let the warmer outer air in.
You should always monitor air filters and replace them when needed, but it’s especially important in the winter when an inefficient heater may not give you enough heat or even shut off.
Other things to consider:
- Wherever you have water supply lines in unheated areas (basement, garage, crawl space, attic), make sure they are insulated.
- Avoid simultaneous showers to not only avoid hot water problems but also to maintain proper pressure.
- Use shut-off valves inside your home to drain water from pipes going to outdoor hose bibs.
If you follow these tips, chances are you will keep your holiday season merry and carefree.