The plumbing in your home will come under heavy strain during the winter. It is the holiday season and you may entertain guests in your house, which means more cooking and more dishes to wash. If the pipes are already clogged, the guests may unwittingly exacerbate the problem.
Moreover, when it gets too cold, the water in the pipes starts to freeze and expand and this can cause the pipes to crack and leak. Here are a few tips to mitigate damages to your plumbing system during winter.
1. Disconnect water hoses outside your home. If you leave them connected and the water in the hose freezes and expands, it can damage the faucet (because of pressure) and the connecting pipes. When the water freezes, it will not matter whether the pipes are made of steel, copper or PVC; they are liable to crack.
2. If you have shutoff valves inside your home leading to outside faucets, turn them off and drain the water from the pipe.
3. Pipes in unheated areas like crawl spaces and garages are especially prone to freezing. Insulate them with heat tape.
4. To prevent cold air from entering your home, seal the leaks around doors and windows.
5. The water heater works extra hard during winter because the water is cold. Flush the water heater before winter sets in to remove buildup of sediment. For optimal heating, the temperature setting on your water heater should be 120 degree F.
6. Inspect the sump pit and and pump and if is clogged, clean it. When sump pump is exposed to extreme cold, it can freeze and stop operating.
7. When you leave your home for an extended period of time, turn the main water valve off and drain the pipes by opening the faucets. Leave the heat on but do not set it lower than 55 degree F.
8. It is a good idea to schedule plumbing inspections before winter sets in. It is a preventive measure and moreover in winter, the weather is not conducive and it will be difficult to conduct repairs.