Few things can be as brutal and unrelenting as winter weather. Winter weather not only takes a toll on humans, but it can also take a toll on homes. It is important to take steps to avoid winter emergency problems such as frozen pipes. The following are some tips that can help you steer clear of expensive emergency plumbing problems.
Get Leaks Fixed
What might appear to be a pesky leak during the summer could become the catalyst for a winter emergency. If a water leak is not fixed, it can cause weak spots in the pipes and fixtures. As water in the pipes expands once the temperature starts to drop, leaks can expose weak spots, causing them to burst from the increased pressure.
Prevent Clogged Drains
During the winter, there are a lot of celebrations and festivities where homeowners may want to cook and bake. A common plumbing issue that happens during the winter is clogged drains caused by homeowners putting food down the drain that really should not go through the garbage disposal. You can prevent winter drain clogs by disposing of oil, grease, egg shells, and coffee grounds in the trash as opposed to your garbage disposal. When you put liquid grease or oil down the garbage disposal and it comes in contact with the cold piping system during the winter, the oils will solidify. The oil then combines with other particulates that have gone down the drain and creates a major clog that will require the assistance of a professional plumber.
Protect Against Frozen Pipes
To prevent frozen pipes and potentially costly damage to your home, insulate your pipes well. Frozen pipes can expand and burst, causing significant harm. An indication of frozen pipes is water not flowing from the faucet when you turn it on.
Prepare for this winter plumbing emergency by trickling each faucet if the temperature is anticipated to drop below 40°. If pipes are already freezing, keep the faucet open to allow a small flow, aiding in thawing.
Expose your pipes to warm air by keeping the cabinets under your sink open. Consult a plumbing professional to insulate outdoor and exterior wall pipes. Stay proactive to safeguard your plumbing during cold weather.
Inspect Your Septic Tank
Prepare your septic tank for winter to ensure optimal functioning and avoid unwanted surprises during the colder months. Before winter arrives, schedule a thorough inspection of your septic tank with a local professional. Verify that all components are functioning correctly and check for any potential leaks in the system.
Winterize the Pipes
If you plan to be away during the winter, arrange to have the septic tank pipes drained to prevent freezing and cracking. Disconnect appliances like the washing machine and dishwasher. Empty the pressure tank and add septic-safe antifreeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Inspect the Lid
Ensure the septic tank lid is in good condition by checking for cracks or holes. A securely sealed lid prevents debris, small animals, or children from accessing the tank. A well-sealed lid traps internal heat, aiding the anaerobic bacteria in breaking down solid waste efficiently, even in winter. If any issues are detected with the septic tank lid, promptly have a professional replace it before winter.
Pump Out the Tank
If you won’t be at home frequently during winter, or if your visits are occasional, consider having the septic tank pumped out. This will remove all waste and gray water, preventing potential freezing during the winter.
Conversely, if you will be at home, ensure regular use of the septic tank. Routine household usage is adequate to maintain proper flow and function. If you anticipate being away for an extended period, arrange for someone you trust to use the septic system occasionally to keep the tank in good condition.
Ensure the Condition and Location of the Meter Shut-off Valve
You need to know the location of the main water shut-off valve and verify its functionality in case you need to turn off the water in your home. In winter, an insulated pipe may crack, leading to significant flooding. It is essential to have quick access to the shut-off valve to prevent excessive water flow into your house and further damage. The shut-off valve is usually situated outside your house where the main water line enters. It is positioned just before the water meter. If you require a wrench to turn off the main water valve, keep it in an easily accessible place and clearly label it. If any shut-off valves are faulty, contact the water company for repairs or seek assistance from a professional plumber.
Avoid Water Heater Failure
Prevent water heater failure during winter by addressing common issues. One problem is heating element failure, and the other is sediment buildup in the tank. Ensure your water heater is serviced in the fall. A plumbing professional will assess the heating element and recommend repairs or replacements if needed. Flushing the tank twice a year helps prevent sediment buildup, averting a winter water heater emergency.
Protect Outdoor Faucets
Shield outdoor faucets to avoid winter plumbing emergencies. Leaving hoses or sprinklers outside in winter means they can freeze, causing the faucet and pipe to split. Most outdoor faucets have shut-off valves. Close the valve and drain any remaining water. Disconnect the water hose for proper drainage. If your outdoor faucets lack a shut-off valve, consult a professional plumber to install one.
Why You Should Protect Your Plumbing System
It is essential to safeguard your plumbing system for winter emergencies. The outlined steps are relatively simple and can be completed in less than a day with a professional plumber. While some might hope their plumbing system survives winter without proactive measures, a burst pipe can cause significant damage to your home. Planning ahead can spare you from days of discomfort with a boiler breakdown during freezing temperatures, ensuring your family’s comfort in winter.
Going the Extra Mile in Southern California With We Care Plumbing, Heating, & Air
For over two decades, We Care Plumbing, Heating, & Air has helped Southern California residents by being the premier residential and commercial plumbing, heating, and air conditioning company. We train our team to go the extra mile. We are proud to offer 24/7 emergency assistance to address a wide range of indoor comfort issues. In addition to providing exceptional service to our clients, we support Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club, and many other organizations that care for our community. We are an A+ accredited Better Business Bureau business, we are proud to have NATE-certified technicians, and we are recipients of the Angie’s List Super Service Award.
Our services include general plumbing, repair, and maintenance. We install water heaters, offer water treatment, and do bathroom remodels, too. We also offer HVAC repair, maintenance, and installation services. If you need indoor air quality service, we perform air quality testing and offer air filtration, purification, humidification, and dehumidification products. Contact We Care Plumbing, Heating, & Air and see what it feels like to work with a contractor that truly cares.
Author Bio: Rusty Cochran
Rusty Cochran is the President of We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. We Care began humbly, operating in his family’s living room. Under Rusty’s strong leadership, We Care has grown from 2 employees to over 200 employees. We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air has gained recognition across the HVAC industry, receiving numerous awards and certifications, including being named the ACCA Contractor of the Year, The Map Presidential Award several times, Angie’s List Super Service Award, NATE certification, and multiple Dave Lennox Awards. LinkedIn Profile