Homeowners are often unprepared for cold weather plumbing problems. Frozen pipes are one of the most common winter plumbing issues experienced by homeowners but can easily be prevented. You can save yourself from the hassle and expense related to cold weather plumbing issues with a few hours over a weekend, or make a quick call to your plumber. For those of you located in the Northern states, you should take preventative action to your plumbing systems by late October. For those of you located in the Southern states, you should take preventative action to your plumbing systems by late November.
1. Be sure to disconnect all outside water hoses. During freezing temperatures, water hoses will freeze and expand. This causes the connecting faucets and pipes to also freeze and burst if the water hoses are left connected.
2. Inspect all outside faucets. Make necessary repairs or call a plumber if you notice dripping or leaking.
3. Close all interior shut-off valves that lead to outside faucets and let the water drain from the pipes.
4. Cover all outside faucets using a faucet insulation kit.
5. Insulate all pipes located in cold unheated areas. Applying thermostat-controlled heat cables or heat tape around the exposed pipes.
6. Be sure your furnace does not get set below 55 degrees during the winter months. This can prevent your pipes from freezing. It is important to note that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds and causes cracks. This is important regardless of what the pipe is made of copper, steel, or plastic. Even the smallest crack can release up to 250 gallons of water in one day.
7. Your water heater works hardest during the cold winter months. Therefore, it is important to drain sediment from your water heater tank in order to avoid corrosion and increase energy efficiency.
8. Be sure to set your water heater thermostat no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal performance without the risk of scalding.
9. In order to ensure proper drainage during the winter months, make sure you clear out dead leaves and other debris from your roof gutters and downspouts.
10. Examine and clean your sump pump. Remove any rocks or other debris from the pit. Test your sump pump by dumping a few buckets of water into the pit. If your sump pump activates itself, pumps the water out, and then turns off on its own, you know it is working properly.