Cold weather causes pipes and other plumbing fixtures to freeze and burst, leading to costly damage and repair. When expecting extreme cold weather, take time to prepare or winterize the system. If you need help, always contact a plumber. Better still, request them to conduct a thorough inspection, then make recommendations. Here are tips on how to protect your plumbing system:
Insulate Exposed Pipes
As earlier noted, cold weather causes pipes to freeze and burst as the pressure builds up. To prevent this, use pipe insulation or wrap the pipes with heat tape. Doing this will maintain a consistent temperature while preventing freezing water from forming inside the lines and causing them to burst. Ideal insulation for pipes is high-grade polyethylene foam, which can be bought from most home improvement stores. However, consulting a professional is always the best option.
Disconnect and Drain Outdoor Hoses
You'll probably not use outdoor hoses during winter, so it's best to disconnect and drain them. Doing this prevents the lines from freezing and possibly bursting due to water pressure buildup. If the hoses have water, it's best to turn off the faucet to drain any remaining water and store the hose indoors. Do the same for all other outdoor plumbing fixtures like sprinklers and faucets.
Flush the Pipes Regularly
Flushing your pipes regularly keeps them clean and free of debris. It also reduces the chances of water freezing inside. If your home has a septic tank, have it serviced regularly by professionals. The effort prevents any potential damage resulting from frozen pipes. When the weather is too cold, it's best to keep the water trickling in all your faucets. It prevents pipes from freezing and bursting.
Maintain the System
Maintaining your plumbing system keeps it working efficiently, especially during winter. Take care of issues as they weaken the system, making it more vulnerable to freezing. Have a plumber check the plumbing system for any signs of problems like leaks or weak joints. Replace old fixtures, pipes, and valves with more efficient and durable ones.
Change the Pressure of the System
Keeping your water pressure lower will protect the pipes from bursting. This is because high pressure makes ice formation easier, causing the pipes to burst. If unsure how to adjust it, consult a professional plumber.
Install a Leak Detection System
Leak detection systems alert you of small leaks in plumbing fixtures and pipes. They usually feature audible alarms that sound when a leak is detected. This gives you enough time to take action and prevent considerable damage. If unsure how to do it, have your plumber install the system.
Take Care of the Water Heater
Your water heater is also prone to damage due to freezing. To protect it, add insulation to the pipes and wrap them with heat tape. Doing this keeps temperatures constant and prevents ice formation.
You can also drain water from the tank to reduce pressure on the system. Before the cold weather sets in, conduct a thorough inspection and system maintenance. The effort prepares the heater for the cold season and reduces the risk of damage.
Be on the Lookout
Keep an eye out for any signs of freezing in the plumbing system. Call a plumber immediately if you can't seem to fix the problem. Also, ensure that the heating system works efficiently to keep your home warm. It's also a good idea to turn off the main water supply if you plan to leave during winter. With these tips, you're assured of a working plumbing system no matter how cold it gets.