Pipes hate winter, and who can blame them? It’s the time of year when the weather can wreak havoc on plumbing. This can be misery for you, the homeowner, as you will need to keep a closer eye on your pipes more than usual when the temperature drops.
There is so much that can happen to your plumbing during the winter. To help you monitor the right things around your home, here are some of the most common things that can impact your plumbing during the winter months.
Your Septic Tank
You may be shocked to know this, but the septic tank is one of the most important features of your home’s plumbing system. If your tank is not properly maintained, a septic tank can clog up, which opens up a can of worms. One of the best ways to keep your tank from clogging up is by cleaning it regularly. Septic tank cleaning can keep your tank from clogging up and wreaking havoc in your house. You can also call a water solution company that can come in and pump out your clogged septic tank. With the harsh winter weather, you should keep an eye on your septic tank and ensure that it’s maintained so that it can get you through the season.
Beware of Frozen Pipes
Pipes and winter certainly don’t get along with each other. You could even call them sworn enemies, with one making the other’s job more complicated.
Pipes can allow water to flow easily until the temperature dips below 32 degrees. That’s when water can freeze up in pipes due to bad insulation and exposed pipes. This is why, if you have pipes that can be exposed to the elements, you should make sure that they’re insulated to protect them from the onslaught of Old Man Winter.
However, even insulated pipes won’t be enough to keep the water from freezing the pipes, which can cause your basement and other parts of the house to flood once the pipes thaw out. So if you sense that your pipes have frozen over, plumbers can come out in any type of weather and save your pipes the same way Superman saves the world.
While plumbers can come in and rescue your pipes, you should call them during the fall so that they can do preventive maintenance. That will help prepare your pipes for what winter will have up its sleeve and get your system to the glorious warmth of spring.
Never Underestimate Your Pipes’ Location
Speaking of frozen pipes, as we mentioned earlier, the location of your pipes can play a crucial role in its fate during the holiday season.
While most new home construction has done a good job in concealing the location of pipes — thus, making them less susceptible to winter’s brutal chills — older homes are not so lucky and may contain pipes that are exposed for Old Man Winter to terrorize. One of the worst places for exposed pipes is in your garage, which can be one of the colder spots in your home during the season, allowing them to freeze when the temperature dips below 32-degrees.
Believe it or not, your garage door can play a big part in protecting your precious pipes. Make sure that the door closes so that it doesn’t allow the chilly air to sneak inside your garage, making it colder than it already gets. If your garage door is not providing that extra layer of protection your pipes need to keep the winter cold out, a residential garage door service can come and repair your door to ensure that it closes the way it’s supposed to close.
Another place where your pipes can get exposed to winter weather is in your cabinets. A great way to ensure your pipes is protected from the horrors of winter chill is to keep your cabinets and vanities open when the temperature dips below 32-degrees. What that will do is allow the warm air from inside your home to flow to the pipes, keeping them warm and the water flowing through them without freezing up.
As the old saying goes, location matters, which is all too true for pipes. Make sure that the pipes that are exposed in your home can be protected from the onslaught of the season.
Your Home’s Insulation
It’s important to keep your home warm to keep your plumbing unfrozen. Not only does your heating system need to be in good shape to maintain a warm temperature inside your home but you also need to make sure your home’s insulation is in good condition to keep the warm air inside.
One place you should check to see if your insulation is doing the job is your attic, specifically the roof. A roof is not only great for keeping the damaging effects of weather out of your home, but can also play a crucial role in keeping your home warm.
Look for roofing insulation that’s either missing or damaged. If you find damaged or missing insulation, call your local roofing contractors ASAP. Roofing industry experts recommend that you have an inspection of the roof after the winter and summer.
We can’t stress this enough it is never encouraged for you to repair roofing damage on your own as it can lead to further damage to the roof or insulation system. Problems that you have with your roof should be handled by a professional contractor as they will have the tools available to fix and repair any insulation issues your home may have.
Your Indoor Heating
It’s important to keep your indoor temperature relatively the same throughout the winter season. Fluctuations in your home heating system can cause your pipes to freeze and defrost rapidly, putting them at greater risk of bursting.
Most homes are outfitted with smart heating units that will allow your system to stay on longer if it notices the temperature dropping, so there is no longer a need to turn your thermostat up and down according to the weather. Your system will do that for you.
Your heating system won’t mean much, however, if it has problems. Before the winter starts, you should have a heating contractor come in and inspect your unit to make sure that it is working the way it should. You don’t want to walk into winter with a faulty heating unit, so get that unit checked out before the chill sets. Some homes are also outfitted with ductless heating, which should be serviced and maintained before the winter chill comes. If you have issues with this system, some contractors specialize in ductless heating repairs as well.
Your heating system is the most important weapon against the forces of Old Man Winter. Make sure that the system is maintained and ready to go to counter anything the chill throws your home’s way.
Your Water Heater
What if we told you that your water heater is one of the hardest working components of your home?
Every time you take a hot shower or cut on the warm water in your sink to wash the dishes, every time you do laundry your water heater is working behind the scenes to make it happen, which is why it’s another target for Old Man Winter. If you fail to get your water heater maintenance, the chill of the season, in addition to its heavy workload, can overwhelm your water heater, leading to no more hot showers or clothes washing.
If degraded enough, they, like pipes, can also burst, leading to a mess that you will have to clean up in its wake. Just as it’s important to keep your pipes and heating unit maintenance, you should also have your water heater checked so that it can handle the extreme pressure it will be under during the season.
Those Unwanted Critters
It’s not just Old Man Winter you have to contend with to keep your pipes working well during the season. You also have to deal with pesky critters.
Sure, most critters head for warmer spots to wait out the winter, but there will be some critters that will be running amuck in your neighborhood, posing a threat to your pipes. There are several ways these critters can damage your pipes. They can chew on your pipes, which can be especially damaging if they’re made of plastic, or their nests can clog up your plumbing. If you suspect animals are making their way into your garage and damaging your plumbing, be sure to contact animal control.
The Bottom Line
Your pipes are a hard-working part of your home. You should have your pipes running smoothly throughout the year, but the winter can present numerous challenges to your pipe system that will put them under even more stress.
Thankfully, there are ways in which you can prevent your pipes from being stressed out during the season. Make sure that the septic tank is cleaned and your home’s insulation is properly installed as to not let cold drafts inside. If you have exposed pipes, make sure they’re insulated as well so that the winter chill won’t freeze the water. You should also make sure you don’t have an animal problem around your home, as they can cause damage to your system as well, from clogged pipes to overall damage to the system.
Yes, it can be stressful to keep your pipes maintained the way they should, but if you are the type of person that values a hot shower and water to wash your clothes, it is necessary to ensure that your pipes get through to the other side of winter.