The harshness of winter can wreak havoc on your plumbing system, causing gross inconveniences and costing hundreds of dollars in repairs. It therefore helps to prepare your plumbing for the cold weather to avoid major headaches when the snow starts falling. For instance, be sure to have all your faucets inspected for leaks so as to prevent freezing inside the pipes. Here is a look at other preventive tips to help you avoid plumbing difficulties this coming winter.
Clear your gutters
Accumulated debris in your gutters can cause a host of problems during winter. The most common issue is the formation of icicles that can back up the drains, causing water to overflow and potentially damage your walls and foundation. Icicles may cause your gutters and downspouts to break or fall down under the weight of the ice.
To prevent such problems, be sure to call in a plumber to remove leaves, twigs and other debris in your gutters before temperatures drop. You may also consider installing gutter guards to prevent the buildup of debris in the gutters during winter.
Drain excess water
It is important that you drain your air conditioner pipes during the fall, as frozen pipes can cause leaks in the unit, causing your AC to break or become inefficient. Water in your garden hoses could also freeze during winter, causing a potential drop in your home's water pressure or damage to the piping, so be sure to drain and disconnect them beforehand.
Keep oil and grease from your sinks
Excessive amounts of oil and grease generated by your holiday cooking can take a heavy toll on your drains and garbage disposal. This is because oils tend to solidify and clog up the piping faster when the plumbing is colder, leading to water backups and leaks.
To avoid this, be extra vigilant in ensuring that oils and grease aren't poured down your sinks during winter, and make it a habit to run cold water down the garbage disposal after every use so as to dislodge oily food debris.
Improve the insulation
Simple steps such as sealing your crawl space vent, doors and windows with insulation foam can help keep your home piping from freezing. You should also seal your garage door and keep it closed whenever possible, especially if you house your water heater in the garage.
Applying insulation sleeves to all pipes near the exterior of your home should help protect exposed piping from the cold weather, preventing freezing and damage to the pipes.
If you still end up having serious plumbing problems in the winter, be sure to contact a 24 hour emergency plumber right away.