List of Plumbing Tips and Tricks for Winter
1. Let cold water trickle: This helps get rid of frozen water at the tip of a tap or faucet, as well as preventing the buildup of frozen water in the same. Allowing at least a pencil’s width of water trickle every evening, goes a long way in preventing frozen water and pipes.
2. Watch water pressure: Reduced water pressure is usually the first sign of a frozen pipe. Frozen pipes make it almost impossible for water to go through hence the reduced water pressure. Having a plumber look into this is therefore recommended.
3. Drain outdoor pipes and disconnect them: Most outdoor/garden pipes are un-insulated hence when/if exposed to the cold winter weather, freeze hence causing pressure buildup in the entire plumbing system. The pressure buildup can cause severe line leakage and even flooding if not checked. Nonetheless, draining and disconnecting these pipes can help prevent a disaster from happening.
4. Install exterior insulated faucet jacket: This helps protect connecting lines and other outdoor faucets from the freezing temperatures.
5. Make use of shut-off valves: These valves are mostly found in crawl spaces, basement, under sinks, and near the water heater/meter. Although your home’s plumbing setup may be different, take some time to see whether these valves are present, and turn them off when not in use.
6. Keep house temperature at 55 degrees or more: Although most people may prefer a reasonably lower temperature than this, it would be advisable to keep your house temperature a little over the 50-degree mark. This helps keep walls warm, thus preventing frozen pipes. It would also be wise to open cabinet doors under kitchen sinks open to allow warm air to circulate in.
7. Seal off garage doors and space vents: Although these vents come in handy in summer, these cause significant heat loss in winter. Sealing these off can, therefore, help keep your plumbing system in check.
8. Ensure snow doesn’t restrict water drainage: Be keen to check the main water drainage area (around the sump pump drainage line) to ensure it isn’t blocked. This can help prevent indoor flooding, as well as frozen pipes.
9. Schedule maintenance inspections annually: While all the tips mentioned above can help keep your plumbing system in check, you should have a certified plumber service the system at least once a year. It is by doing this that you can avoid plumbing emergencies, especially during winter.