Winter Plumbing Maintenance Tips
Keep Your Water Flowin’ When Old Man Winter Starts Blowin’!
The arrival of the winter season and cold weather invite a multitude of potential plumbing problems into our homes. Frigid morning showers, frozen or cracked pipes, broken radiators, flooding, and leaks are just a few of the many unwanted plumbing issues brought on by cold winter weather.
Fortunately there are things that you can do to prevent or minimize the likelihood of these winter plumbing mishaps. Horizon Services offers these plumbing maintenance tips to keep your plumbing system in tip-top shape during the winter months:
- Preventing Clogged Drains: Once a week, treat your sink and bathtub drains to this quick, safe and environmentally-friendly cleaning process. Make up a mixture of 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of baking soda, and 1/4 cup cream of tartar. Pour equal amounts into your various drains and follow it with 2 cups of boiling water for each drain.
- Pipe Insulation: Use foam padding sleeves or special insulating tape to guard your pipes (both hot water and cold water) against freezing. Any exposed pipe or plumbing fixtures should be kept warm with space heaters (lamps) from a safe distance. Every few days, check out pipes in basements or little used areas of the house to make sure no ice or frost is accumulating or cracks developing.
- Running Water: Be sure to run water from every valve in your house at regular intervals throughout the winter. This will prevent freezing.
- Don’t Forget Outdoor Spigots and Hoses: Unattach your garden hoses before freezing temperatures arrive in the fall. Close the shut-off valve on the pipes which lead to your outdoor spigots. Drain any residual water from spigots or hoses. Don’t leave hoses attached to outdoor faucets over the winter; roll up and store till spring.
- Be Careful with Holiday Cooking: Cooking grease and oils put a real strain on drains, pipes and garbage disposals. Grease and oil are more likely to collect and clog when your plumbing is colder, so do your best not pour down the drain. Also, refrain from putting hard to grind objects or stringy substances down into the disposal. Always run cold water through the disposal for at least 15 seconds before and after each use. Be sure to turn the disposal on before filling it with food debris.
- Spread Showers Throughout the Day: At least 10 minute intervals between showers is optimal to maintain hot water and proper pressure. You may also want to turn up the water heater during the cold season as well; to prevent burns, do not put it above 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Eliminate Drafts: Check around your home for areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas and take measures to prevent the flow of cold air in these areas. Examples: basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can freeze if water is not running through the pipe and the water temperature becomes cold.
If Your Indoor Faucets Freeze:
- Leave the cabinet doors under the faucets open so that they can get more heat.
- If it gets intensely cold, run a little bit of water from each valve in the house each day. Let the water trickle very slowly into the sink.
- Heat every room of your home, not just a few rooms. Allow warm air to circulate freely throughout your house.
If Your Pipes Freeze, Burst or Crack This Winter:
- Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve so that you don’t have problems as the ice melts.
- Leave the faucets on to relieve pressure as the ice melts.
- Use a blow dryer or heat gun to thaw frozen pipes.
- DO NOT use any torches or open flames to thaw pipes. (Please Note: Horizon Services does not provide service to thaw a frozen pipe).
- Call Horizon Services to schedule a Plumbing Service Call.