It is officially winter, which means that colder, wetter weather is already under way or in the nearby future. Winter brings a whole slew of plumbing problems. From the extra stress of holiday entertaining, to freezing temperatures, and heavy rains, it can be a recipe for disaster. Here are some winter plumbing tips to help you keep your plumbing in good shape this winter.
Drain cleaning is an important part of preventing winter related plumbing problems. In addition to the added stress of holiday entertaining, drain cleaning can help prevent clogs, once heavy rains set in. Heavy rains can bring with them all kinds of debris, which can clog your pipes. If you notice sluggish drainage after a heavy rain, it is a good idea to have your drain cleaned.
Gutters and storm drains are part of your home's drainage system. During heavy rains, gutters and storm drains help divert water away from your home. It is important to have your gutters and storm drains cleared before the rainy season. Water that is not properly diverted can cause a multitude of problems including: flooding, damage to the foundation, and saturated ground which leads to broken pipes. In addition to directing excess water, cleaning storm drains is a good way to insure that harmful items don’t make it to our rivers, oceans, lakes, and streams.
Pipe insulation is an important winter plumbing tip if you live in an area that can reach freezing temperature, then your plumbing pipes could be susceptible to freezing. Frozen pipes are a common winter related problem. As temperature start to drop, water trapped in pipes can freeze. This is bad, because when water freezes it expands, which can cause burst pipes. To prevent frozen pipes ensure that all exposed pipes are insulated. In addition it is also a good idea to seal any entry points that allow cold air to reach your pipes, like in attics and crawl spaces. They also make insulation jackets for water heaters, which is a good idea to protect your water heater and also help it run more efficiently.
Another important winter plumbing tip is to check your sump pump. If you have a basement, them more than likely you have a sump pump. A sump pumps job is to pump out excess water. To determine if you sump pump is working properly, pour a bucket of water into the crock and see if it is activated. If it turns on you are in good shape. Next you will want to check the drain and make sure it is free of any clogs. If your sump pump fails to engage it may need to be replaced.
Smelly drains are a common winter related plumbing problem for several reasons. For starters the extra holiday entertaining could have taken its toll on your drains. In this instance have your drains cleaned and deodorized. It could also be caused by a dried trap. This is common in drains that don’t get used that often. A p trap is designed to keep a barrier of water that prevents sewer gas from creeping back up your drain. To alleviate this, turn on the faucet and let the water run for a bit. Another culprit is a clogged vent stack. Vent stack sit on top of the roof, and help vent excess sewer gas. During the winter, vent stacks can get clogged with leaves, debris, snow, or ice. If this is the case a professional should inspect your vent stack and install a screen to prevent future clogs. These winter plumbing tips were designed to keep you and your family comfortable and safe during the winter months. For more information, or to schedule service contact Rooter Hero today!