There are many little things that change in your home as winter approaches. You’ll likely start taking longer, hotter showers, dry clothes indoors more often, and have the heating on regularly. You need to think about how winter will affect your plumbing system. While pipes freezing in Irving, TX is not extremely common, it’s an increasing worry for Texan homeowners as weather becomes more unpredictable. However, there are several things that you can do to winter-proof your home and prevent costly repairs to your home’s plumbing system by an emergency plumber.
Preventing Burst Pipes
Burst pipes are one of the most important things to watch out for in winter. Burst pipes are a common winter problem. They can cause water damage and wasted water, which can lead to significant financial losses. A burst pipe will also mean that you need to call a plumber in to perform repairs. This is not something you want to do during the winter when a lack of hot water and usable water supply is extremely inconvenient. Plus, Christmas is expensive enough without considering the costs of an emergency plumber to fix an unexpected issue!
Many pipes burst in winter due to freezing temperatures and wind chills. When a pipe freezes, the water in it expands until the pipe is unable to hold the water. This causes the pipe crack or to break, creating a perfect opening for water to leak through. One way to prevent burst pipes in winter is to insulate exterior pipes with polyethylene foam. You can also consider attic insulation to help prevent problem pipes from bursting.
Burst pipes can leak several gallons per minute so it is important to turn off your water supply if you find a burst pipe. You can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by shutting off your water while you wait for an emergency plumber to arrive.
Leaving one faucet dripping is another effective way to prevent burst pipes. By keeping one faucet open, the pressure in your pipes will have a safe outlet. It is a good idea to keep at least one faucet open each winter. For your own safety and mental health, you can choose an out-of-the-way faucet that you don’t often come into contact with, such as one in an unused guest room.
Clogged drains should be another concern during winter. Irving, TX homeowners are more likely to stress their drains in winter because there are typically more people staying in the home. If drains become clogged, the quickest, most reliable way to resolve is to call an emergency plumber.
One tip to prevent clogs when the plumbing system is in use more frequently over the winter, is to avoid putting certain items down the drains. Avoid flushing paper towels, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, and other typically non-flushable items. Consider installing drain catchers to prevent hair and soap scum from building up in the shower drain.
If you don’t want it to clog, do not put coffee grounds, eggshells, fats and oils down drains or through garbage disposals. Otherwise, you risk needing a plumber to repair or replace your kitchen garbage disposal or drains during the festive period!
Most people use chemical-based liquid cleaners to clear clogs and prevent an emergency plumber callout. However, plumbers recommend an enzyme-based cleaner to clear clogs from your home. Chemical cleaners can clear clogs, but they can also corrode the underlying pipes.
Maintaining Your Water Heater
Now is the best time to have your water heater checked by a professional. It is vital that your water heater works well during winter. However, it will stop producing hot water if the heating element is damaged or it’s been ill-maintained. A plumber should inspect your water heater if it is acting unusually or has been in use for more than 10 years.
Often, it’s not worth spending money to ask an emergency plumber to repair your water heater unless you have a simple problem like a bad heating element. A new tank-type water heater can be purchased for a reasonable price and is easy to install.
Looking After Your Hose Pipes
Many homeowners forget to turn off outside valves during winter. Although it is not a huge problem in Texas, it can be when the temperature unexpectedly drops below freezing.
The most important thing is to turn off the hose bib and drain the hose completely, so there is no residual water that might cause an issue when temperatures drop. To help prevent freezing, you can also cover the hose with a bib cover. Some homeowners choose to disconnect the hose pipe and store it safely until spring.
Maintaining Indoor Plumbing in Winter
The temperature in your home is another factor to consider when trying to prevent emergency plumber callouts for frozen pipes. Some homeowners prefer to reduce their energy consumption by turning down the heat. You increase the likelihood of your pipes freezing or bursting if you allow your home to get too cold, though! Plumbers recommend that your home be kept at around 68 degrees during winter. This will keep your pipes warm enough to prevent them from freezing and bursting.
The best way to keep your pipes from freezing in cold weather is to keep them warm. Simply exposing your pipes to the heat of your home is the easiest way to avoid emergency plumber services in winter. It is not as difficult as it sounds. You might find that many of your pipes are hidden inside cabinets. To ensure your home heat is getting to the pipes, simply open those cabinets for a while on cold days to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
These are just some ways that you can winter-proof your home in Irving, TX and prevent a variety of plumbing emergencies. If you do experience a plumbing emergency, however, whether it’s a burst pipe, sewage back up, clogged drain, or flooded appliance, rely on an emergency plumber from bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas. Call us now — we’re here to help!