Homeowners should be aware that the cold temperatures can wreck havoc on pipes if not properly cared for. If you’re not comfortable with performing these preventative plumbing tips, it’s best to hire a professional. There are several precautions homeowners can take to prevent costly repairs and improve energy efficiency.
- Disconnect and remove outside water hoses. If hoses are left out during the winter months, they can freeze and expand. This will cause faucets and internal pipes inside your home to freeze and burst.
- Ensure that all outside faucets are shut tight and there are no signs of leaks.
- If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from lines.
- Purchase insulation kits from your local home center and cover all outside faucets and spouts.
- Use heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables to insulate pipes in areas that have no heat, such as; garages or basements.
- Water heater maintenance is important! You need to flush it out and remove sediment buildup. These sediments can cause corrosion over time, which will shorten the life of your water heater. You will also improve heating efficiency.
- Test your water heater’s pressure relief valve (Be careful the water is very hot!). First, lift up the lever and let it snap back. The valve should allow a burst of hot water into the drainpipe. If not, call a professional to have a new valve installed.
- Your water heater thermostat should be set at 120°F for optimum performance.
- Keep your gutters clear from water build up by removing leaves and debris from downspouts.
- Inspect and clean sump pumps. If pumps are exposed to extreme cold, they can freeze, preventing the pump from operating.
- If you’re leaving for a long vacation or you have a summer home, shut off the main water valve and drain the system by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. You should keep your heat on inside the home and set your thermostat at 55 degrees.
By following these tips, you can save on costly repairs and improve energy efficiency. If you are not sure what to do, seek professional help or get connected with a plumber in your area on ServiceLive.com.