The onset of winter brings the festive holiday season, and as a homeowner, preparing your home to survive the winter can be a priority on your to-do list. The cold and harsh weather of winters can present big challenges for your home, especially the plumbing. Whenever the temperatures dip, you might have to prepare the plumbing of your home to face the harsh weather elements. If not prepared well, the plumbing of your home might take a toll during the winter season and result in damaged pipes and clogged drains which can sometimes even lead to flooding. In freeze-prone areas, it is often advisable to get in touch with a professional plumbing service like Sarkinen Plumbing – a trusted plumber serving all of Portland for preparing your home plumbing for the cold season. Let us understand how one can prepare the plumbing of their home for the winters.
Preparing Your Home Plumbing For The Harsh Winter:
- Insulating the pipes: Insulating your pipes prevents them from freezing. Wrap any exposed pipes in unheated portions of your house with heat tape or pipe insulation. It becomes the most important step in prepping the plumbing in your house for winter. The pipes in garages or basements are also susceptible to freezing which makes checking on them good practice for your plumbing. Take a few minutes to install extra insulation in the basement, garage, or attic where pipes are located if you find any areas with insufficient insulation. This will prevent freezing air from entering those places.
- Shut off outdoor faucets: In the summer, outdoor garden faucets and hose spigots are quite handy, but in the chilly winter, they are not at all important. Turn off outdoor faucets at the cutoff valve after allowing excess water to drain. If you forget to switch off the water supply to outside faucets and appliances, frozen outdoor pipes may cause severe damage to your plumbing system. To prevent this, it is advisable to drain and disconnect any hoses or other outdoor water equipment that may be connected to your outside spigots. Ensure that they are stored in a secure location for the winter.
- Setup warning signals: If your HVAC system or furnace fails in the thick of winter, your pipes will be subjected to freezing temperatures until the problem is resolved. Ensure that your heating system is fully functional before the arrival of winter. In such cases, a Wi-Fi thermostat allows you to control and monitor the temperature in your house using your smartphone. If your home’s temperature lowers, you will get an email or text message alarm. There are more types of modern alert systems available in the market today. Some transmit warnings to your mobile phone via your home’s internet fiber cable, and others transmit a notification to a landline or mobile phone.
- Get heat cables: Heat cables are one of the best options for brittle pipelines. They contain an inbuilt thermostat that monitors pipe temperature and activates and deactivates heat as required to prevent freezing. The wire must be plugged into an available outlet.
- Set the temperature to “warm” even in your absence: If you leave during the day or night, or if you intend to go on vacation, ensure that your thermostat is set to a warm enough temperature to prevent frozen pipes. In general, this entails maintaining a temperature of 55 degrees or above; if the temperature drops below that, poorly insulated portions of your property might get considerably colder, resulting in frozen pipes. As an extra layer of safety, if you expect to be away from your home for a lengthy period of time, you may also switch off the main water supply and drain all the water from the pipes by opening taps around the house.
All throughout the country, there are certain areas where temperatures drop below the freezing point. In such places, unprepared plumbing systems can clog, damage, or flood your entire home. The pipes of homes are primarily located in the remotest places like unheated crawl spaces, well pits, unheated floors, attic, or under the basement floor- which can often be hard to reach. Sometimes a good heat tape can do the magic, and other times you might have to re-route your entire plumbing system. Hence it is best to get in touch with a professional to winterize your home plumbing in such areas. You can consult him for your insurance claiming process as well as ask for help with preservative approaches for the future. Always remember that, although winterizing your home plumbing is not a very fun process, neither is a flooded basement!