Winter isnt exactly the most forgiving time of the year. Aside from the biting cold and the constant, every-day shovelling involved, theres a good amount of preparation that needs to be done around to house to ensure your family stays safe, warm, and happy. Theres nothing more frustrating and panic-inducing than being snowed in or losing power (and heat!) and not having emergency supplies on-hand. The last thing anyone wants to deal with on top of all that is plumbing problems.
Sadly, even during winter, pipes still crack, and faucets still leak. Instead of sitting around and praying it wont happen to you, why not take some preventive measures. Here are five plumbing tips to remember during winter.
1. Disconnect garden hoses
When garden hoses are left connected over winter, there is a high possibility of ice forming. This could lead to the water pressure building up in the water lines in your home. Too much pressure can lead to a crack or break in the pipe.
2. Utilize the valves
If your water system set-up includes valves and switches that are easily accessible, get into the habit of shutting them off every few days or so. This will drain the water from pipes connected to outdoor hoses and spigots. You can leave them off overnight and switch them back on first thing in the morning.
3. Regulate the temperature indoors
Make sure your indoor temperature stays warm anything above 55 degrees. When the temperature drops to a certain degree, water lines inside the house can freeze. Frozen pipes crack easier, which can eventually lead to heavy leakage. If left untreated, flooding becomes a very serious, very possible problem.
4. Insulate your pipes
To further guard against pipes freezing over, try insulating your pipes once winter hits. While the pipes that are safely inside your house can be kept warm through temperature regulation, external pipes or pipes within the outer walls are extremely susceptible to low temperatures and you guessed it freezing over. Before temperatures hit sub-zero, wrap exposed pipes in insulation. If you have a few months to go before winter, consider investing in a good amount of spray foam. You can fill exterior wall cavities with said spray foam, effectively keeping your pipes toasty.
5. Keep the area around your water drainage clear
Snow piling up on or around your drainage area can spell disaster for your plumbing. The two systems you should keep an eye on in particular are your sump pump and your septic system. The sump pump discharge line is used to avoid flooding indoors. This line usually starts at the basement or sub-level and drains into an outside area. If said outside area is blocked by snow, there is the danger of the exit freezing over rendering it useless or the water backing up into your house (and eventually causing flooding).
It is important to make sure that your boilers are serviced regularly. This will ensure that they are safe and are functioning correctly. Boilers may require larger usage in winter months so it is especially important that they are working as they should. A company like Guildford Plumbing Services provides boiler repairs and boiler services.
For the septic system, on the other hand, the drain field needs to be clear so waste can then be properly processed. The area above your septic tank and sewage system must be clear of snow or ice. Otherwise, you risk contaminated water backing up into your home or flooding your backyard.