Tips to Protect Your Plumbing This Winter Season

frozen_gate_valve Winter can be a be a difficult time for your home’s plumbing. There are a number of common problems that come with cold weather, but with some simple preventative maintenance, you can avoid a major holiday headache and keep things flowing properly.

1. Avoid Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are very common during the winter, especially for outside or otherwise exposed plumbing. When water freezes, it expands, which can cause pipes to burst, resulting in a major leak. Watch for reduced flow in your plumbing – this may be an early warning sign of freezing pipes.

To avoid a midnight water leak, we always recommend insulating exposed plumbing. You can call Earl’s for a free inspection to determine the necessary steps to prep your pipes for the cold. In the mean time, another way to avoid freezing pipes is to let your faucets trickle at low pressure during the evenings when it’s coldest.

If you see a cracked pipe that is still frozen, try to turn off the water at either the closest shut off valve or the main water valve to your home. This will avoid water damage once the ice thaws and begins to leak. Call Earl’s right away for same day emergency service before it turns into a major problem.

2. Disconnect Garden Hoses

Garden hoses can be a surprising source of trouble if left connected during a freeze. Ice will form pressure that can be delivered to the plumbing inside your home, increasing the likely hood of a break in the line. To avoid all this hassle, just disconnect your garden hoses during the winter when they’re not in use and make sure to drain all the water out. You can also install an insulated faucet jacket for extra protection.

3. Keep Your Home Warm

When temperatures inside the home start to drop, the water in your walls and ceilings can become susceptible to freezing. Keep your house warm and make sure to circulate air to all the rooms in your house. If you have a water heater in the garage, try to keep any doors to the outside closed as much as possible. If you have a basement with plumbing, make sure there are no drafts or air leaks for cold air to get to your pipes.

4. Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain

We always recommend properly disposing of cooking oil in grease in your trash rather than putting it in your drains, but this is even more important during the winter months. Grease and oil can coagulate in your drain, causing stoppages far down the line. During the colder season, this is even more likely to happen. The best solution is to never put grease into your drains or garbage disposal.

Hopefully these tips will keep your holiday season bright. If you do run into any major problems, Earl’s Plumbing is a phone call away (or click) away. Stay warm out there!