Many homeowners don't realize that plumbing problems can arise in the cold weather. If not prevented, these plumbing issues can cause significant hassle and expense. The biggest concern is water freezing inside your plumbing system, which causes expansion that can result in cracked pipes. Even a small crack can cause lots of damage because the amount of water released in a day is hundreds of gallons. Although winter has already arrived, it is not too late to prevent plumbing issues in your home. Consider the following tips.
If you have faucets outside of your home, see if you can locate a shut-off valve inside that leads to the outdoor faucet. Close the valve and then go outside and turn the faucet on to drain any water. Disconnect any hoses that are still hooked up and store them for the winter. Verify the outdoor faucet is not dripping or leaking. If it is, call a plumber to make repairs.
You may think the pipes on the inside of your home are not at risk of freezing. The truth is that pipes are often located in areas that are not as well heated as your living areas. Consider the cabinets under your sink or the pipes in the walls on the exterior of your house. Some homes have pipes that run through the garage. You may want to consider installing heat tape around exposed pipes. Keep your thermostat above 55 degrees, even if you will be away from home. Consider opening cabinets to allow circulation of the warmer air underneath sinks.
Know How to Shut Off Your Water
Even with the best preparation, you may find yourself in a situation where a pipe freezes. Maybe you lose power and therefore can't keep your house warm enough. If you think a pipe has frozen it is important to shut the water off quickly. Knowing how to shut the water off is imperative. Quick action may prevent the frozen pipe from bursting and will minimize the damage if it does end up cracked or burst.
Now that you’ve taken the appropriate steps to prevent plumbing issues for the remainder of this winter, you can start planning ahead for next winter. When fall arrives make winterization of your plumbing part of your fall chores. That way you will have taken preventative action before the arrival of cold weather.
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