When it comes to surviving the winter, preparation is everything. You need to prepare your windows, your heaters, and especially your plumbing. Nothing can highjack the season like a burst pipe!
So, before the year ushers in another record-breaking winter, here are four tips for surviving the season with minimal plumbing leaks.
1. Fix Possible Problem Areas
The best way to prepare for the winter is to keep your plumbing as up-to-par as possible. Don’t know what to do when a frozen pipe bursts? You don’t want to find yourself asking that question in the dead of the cold season – the best solution is to prevent pipe bursts from happening at all.
This tip is self-explanatory – if you want to protect your plumbing for the future, you need to make sure it’s well preserved in the present. A small crack may seem like a minor problem now, but it can become truly devastating if not properly fixed.
According to the insurance giant State Farm, something as small as a ⅛ inch crack can dispel up to 250 gallons of water daily. Thus, when it comes to plumbing, you can never be too careful. Check your pipes, faucets, and even water heaters for the slightest damage. Have a handy person available who can fix any errant drips.
2. Maintain Your Sinks and Drains
A great way to protect your plumbing is to keep your drain free of any clogging material. This includes the regular culprits, such as hair, coffee grounds, and soap scum. For kitchen sinks, you need to be especially careful about cooking grease.
According to the Journey of Oleo Science, about fifty percent of sanitary overflows are due to substances such as grease. Hot oil and fat may seem harmless in liquid form, but this is a common misconception. These liquids are not soluble, and can only cause build up when thrown down a drain.
To combat this coagulation, make sure to always dispose of your oils with care. Place your excess grease in a tightly lidded container. When the liquid has cooled, you can safely throw the container away. This may seem tedious, but it can save your sink and yourself from a lot of grief in the future.
3. Unscrew and Store any Outdoor Hoses
During the summer, an outdoor hose can provide countless opportunities for fun. Yet, during the winter, freezing temperatures can lead to permanent damage. This is why you’ll want to store your hose before the winter can do any lasting harm.
Begin by shutting off the water to the hose faucet. This will remove any excess water from the nozzle. Next, you will want to disconnect your hose and allow it to fully drain itself. Make sure it’s completely dry before you store it!
To protect the faucet, use a cover that can combat the cold winter. These covers can range from hard plastic to Styrofoam. By covering the faucet, you’ll ensure that your hose is preserved and ready for use when the cold season ends.
4. Find Ways to Insulate your Pipes
One way to prepare your plumbing for the winter is to check if your pipes are heated. It’s important to note that many houses in northern climates have pipes designed for the winter. They are built into the building’s insulation, which provides ample heating to combat frozen temperatures.
It is the homes in southern areas that are more vulnerable to cold spells. With exposed piping, cold air can easily enter your plumbing system and begin to freeze your water.
To fight this process, you’ll need to make sure the cold air has no easy entrances. Purchase material, such as polyethylene foam, to wrap around any exposed pipes. This insulation will act as a ‘coat’ for your plumbing and allow unprotected areas further insulation. This will give you – and your pipes – a much-needed layer of security.