Most homeowners have a general understanding of how to take care of home basics like protecting pipes during the winter. They know that if it gets really cold they probably need to insulate them with either a towel or pipe insulation kit. They know that they need to deal with leaks immediately so that pipe and home damage does not occur. But beyond that, do homeowners really know how to care for and protect their pipes during the winter? While pipe insulation and general maintenance are important, winter can be particularly hard on a home’s plumbing so it is important to prepare your pipes for winter and care for them throughout the season.
When you think of your home’s plumbing you probably immediately think of the pipes. Most homeowner’s main concern during the winter is that the water will freeze and cause a pipe to burst. But, it is important to not forget about your home’s water heater. Your water heater will be working particularly hard during the winter to provide much needed warm water so it will really be put to the test. To protect your water heater and help ensure that it can provide the hot water that you want it is best to perform some seasonal maintenance before the temperatures get too cold. A hot water heater should be drained and flushed so that sediment does not build up in the tank causing erosion and shortening the lifespan of your water heater. While draining and flushing your water heater is a relatively easy task, it does involve turning off the electricity to your water heater and connecting hoses to drain so many homeowners prefer to leave the task to a professional plumber to ensure it is done safely and properly.
Another winter plumbing preparation task that many homeowners do not think about is their outdoor hoses. Outdoor hoses should be drained and disconnected from exterior plumbing before it gets too cold. It can be easy to forget about hoses that are connected to pipes but they often trap water inside of them and when that water freezes it expands and which can freeze the faucet and cause the pipe to burst. Finally, it is a good idea to completely turn off the outside water valve. Angie’s List explains how to turn off your outside water valve, “If your outdoor water faucets have a separate shut-off valve, close the valve, open the spigots to drain the lines and leave them open until spring. If your faucets have a back-flow prevention device, make sure to disconnect it so that the water drains from the line.” If you are uncertain where to begin, call an experienced plumber to help you prepare your plumbing for winter.