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As winter rolls around, there are a lot of little things that change in your life. One thing you have to consider is how much more you’re going to use your plumbing system and how winter affects your plumbing system. If you want to avoid calling a plumber for expensive repairs in your home, there are some things you need to keep an eye on. If you’re looking for easy tips to help you keep the plumbing system in your home in great shape all winter long, here are five things you should know.
1. Burst pipes
Of all the things you need to keep an eye out for during the winter, burst pipes are the biggest concern. Not only are burst pipes a very common problem during the winter, they can cost you a ton of money in wasted water and water damage. Plus, a burst pipe means you have to make a call to an emergency plumber and shut your water off, which is the last thing you want to do in the dead of the winter.
Burst pipes are a result of a pipe freezing. When the pipe freezes, the water inside expands to the point where the pipe can’t hold it all. This causes the pipe to crack or break, leaving a perfect gap for water to escape through. You can prevent this by having problem pipes insulated, which are generally the ones on exterior walls in your home.
Considering burst pipes spill several gallons of water each minute, it’s important to shut your water off if you notice a burst pipe in your home. Shutting your water off while you wait for a plumber to arrive can prevent hundreds or even thousands of dollars in water damage.
2. Clogged drains
Clogged drains are another thing you need to keep an eye out for during the winter. With kids home from school and everybody staying inside more, Hurst, TX, homeowners tend to put a lot more stress on their drains during the winter. If you let a drain get too badly clogged, you’ll end up having to pay a professional to snake it out.
The best way to prevent clogged drains is to simply avoid putting the wrong things down them. You should only flush toilet paper down your toilet, and you can install drain grates in your shower and bathroom sink to catch soap scum and hair. As far as your kitchen sink goes, avoid putting things like coffee grounds, egg shells, fats, oils and greases down the drain if you don’t want to clog it.
If you do have a clogged drain, make sure you’re not using a harmful drain cleaner to unclog it. While most people reach for chemical-based cleaners like Drano in these situations, most plumbers recommend using an enzyme-based cleaner that gets rid of clogs without damaging pipes in your home.
3. Water heater preparation
If you haven’t had somebody take a look at your water heater in a while, now is the perfect time to do it. Your water heater is incredibly important during the winter months, but it won’t keep pumping out hot water if it’s too old or there’s a problem with a heating element. If your water heater is acting strange in any way or is older than 10 years, have a plumber take a look at it this fall.
Unless you’ve got a basic water heater problem such as a bad element, it’s probably not worth spending money on water heater repairs. You can get a fairly inexpensive water tank-type water heater for your home and they’re easy to install, so it’s generally best to have a professional install a new one for you.
4. Turn off outside valves
One thing that a lot of Hurst, TX, homeowners don’t think about during the winter is turning off the valves outside their home. While there are a lot of Texas winters where this isn’t a problem, you never know when temperatures are going to drop to or below freezing. You can avoid burst pipes and valves outside by making sure everything is turned off.
Arguably the most important thing to do is turn your hose bib off and make sure it’s fully drained. You can install a hose bib cover to help insulate the hose bib and reduce the odds of freezing. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, make sure you have a plumber do it before winter arrives.
5. Indoor temperatures
Another thing you have to consider when it comes to frozen pipes is the temperature inside your home. While this isn’t an issue for most people, there are some homeowners who like to cut back on energy use by turning the heat way down. If you let your home get too cold, you’re increasing the odds of pipes freezing and bursting.
While you shouldn’t blast the heat in your home, most plumbers recommend keeping your home at a temperature of about 68 degrees during the winter. This helps keep pipes in both interior and exterior walls warm enough that they won’t freeze and burst.
Get Some Help
Just because you know what to watch out for in terms of winter plumbing problems doesn’t mean they’re easy to prevent. This is especially true when you aren’t an expert. Lucky for you, a plumber can help you get your home ready for the winter so you don’t have to deal with any major problems.
If you want to make sure your home is perfectly prepared for winter this year, Tioga Plumbing & Electric can help with that. To find out more about preparing your home for winter or schedule an appointment for a plumber to get everything ready for you, give Tioga Plumbing & Electric a call today at (469) 789-1292.