With each changing season, homeowners often prepare their homes to cope with the different weather conditions. However, amidst the fall foliage or the winter snow preparations, a crucial aspect that often gets overlooked is the home’s plumbing system. Each season poses its unique challenges to our pipes, and being prepared can save a significant amount of trouble and money. In this article, we’ll delve into how seasonal changes, especially the shift from fall to winter, can impact your plumbing, and provide actionable advice to ensure your pipes remain intact and efficient.
The Impact of Seasons on Plumbing
- Fall: As temperatures begin to dip in the fall, residual water in outdoor pipes, hoses, and sprinklers can start to freeze. Additionally, falling leaves can clog outdoor drains, gutters, and downspouts, leading to potential overflow and water damage.
- Winter: The heart of winter brings the most significant challenges. Prolonged exposure to sub-zero temperatures can cause water in pipes to freeze, expand, and eventually lead to bursts. Especially in unheated areas of the home like basements or garages, pipes are at the highest risk.
Preparing Plumbing for Fall
- Drain Outdoor Faucets and Hoses: Disconnect and drain garden hoses. Turn off the indoor shut-off valve to outdoor faucets, and then open the outdoor faucet to let any remaining water drain out, preventing any freezing inside.
- Clear Out Gutters and Downspouts: Regularly clean gutters and downspouts to ensure water can flow freely. This prevents any clogging due to accumulated leaves or debris.
- Insulate Exposed Pipes: Pipes in unheated areas like basements, crawl spaces, and garages should be insulated. Foam pipe insulation sleeves are readily available and can be easily installed.
Preparing Plumbing for Winter
- Keep the Heat On: Even if you’re away, ensure your home’s thermostat is set no lower than 55°F (13°C) to prevent pipes from freezing.
- Seal Leaks and Cracks: Check your home for leaks or cracks that can let cold air in, especially near pipes. Seal them up to prevent drafts from reaching the pipes.
- Open Cabinet Doors: On especially cold days, open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom to let warmer air circulate around the plumbing.
- Let Faucets Drip: A slight trickle or drip keeps water moving, reducing the risk of it freezing within the pipes.
Mitigating Risks and Damage
- Know the Main Shut-Off Valve: In case of a leak or burst, know where your home’s main water shut-off valve is and how to turn it off.
- Regular Inspections: Have a professional inspect your plumbing before the onset of winter. They can spot potential problem areas and suggest appropriate measures.
- Avoid Chemical Deicers on Drains: While it might be tempting to use chemical deicers to clear ice blockages, they can be harsh on your plumbing. Instead, use safe alternatives like salt or sand.
The transition between seasons, especially moving from fall to winter, demands attention to your plumbing. Being proactive and ensuring your pipes are well-maintained can prevent common seasonal challenges like leaks or frozen pipes. By understanding the unique requirements of each season and taking precautionary measures, homeowners can save themselves from potential plumbing catastrophes.
Stay one step ahead of the seasons with Bedrock Plumbing
Our expert team can guide you through the best practices to safeguard your plumbing against seasonal changes. From inspections to insulation, we’ve got you covered. Don’t wait for the first freeze to find out if your home is prepared. Contact Bedrock Plumbing today and ensure your home remains functional, safe, and efficient through all seasons. Schedule your seasonal check-up now!