As the temperature drops and the colder months approach, it’s time to prepare your plumbing to overcome the harsh winter conditions. Without proper preparation, you could spend a significant amount on plumbing repairs and property damage. Typically, when water freezes, it expands and becomes ice due to the frigid temperatures. The expansion increases pressure within your plumbing system, leading to leaks and breaks.
You can prevent these problems by winterizing your plumbing. This is a process of preparing your home’s plumbing system for the significant drop in temperature during the winter. Here are some tips from our experts at Express Plumbing Heating & Air to ensure your plumbing in Boise, ID works efficiently, even on cold days.
1. Insulate Pipes
The exposed pipes in your home are prone to freezing due to the low temperature outdoors. Therefore, ensure these pipes are properly winterized to minimize the chances of a pipe freezing, which can easily lead to it bursting. Call a plumbing expert to wrap the exposed pipes using heat tape or foam insulation. By involving an experienced professional, you will also ensure that the pipes aren’t covered with insulation in a way that can trap condensation and lead to mold growth.
2. Disconnect and Drain Outdoor Components
When freezing occurs in the external piping system, it can also affect the pipes in your house. Disconnecting and draining outdoor components is an effective winterizing tip that protects both the external and internal plumbing. If you have hoses you use to wash your car or water the garden, turn them off, drain the water inside them, and store them before the winter months. Wrapping the faucets with insulation will prevent them from freezing provided water doesn’t get trapped inside when they aren’t in use. If there is an issue with outdoor spigots or valves, our professionals tighten them and turn them off on both ends of the line to prevent water from getting into the pipes.
3. Seal Air Leaks
Another way to winterize your plumbing system is to ensure that any existing air leaks get fixed before the cold season kicks in. Even tiny air leaks near your pipes can expose them to frigid drafts and cause major problems in your home when the temperature gets too low. These exposed areas in your pipes create natural weak spots in your system, and when water expands, these areas have a high chance of bursting. This can be terribly inconvenient for you and your family and quite expensive to fix. Our professionals have the right equipment to thoroughly inspect your entire plumbing system and spot all the susceptible parts. We’ll seal all the holes, helping you save money and time before the winter months arrive.
4. Keep the Heat On
Ensuring constant heat circulation in your home helps keep the interior pipes warm. During the cold months, you should set your thermostat to about 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at the lowest to prevent the pipes from possibly sustaining freeze damage. Even if you plan to be away for a while, turning off the heat is a bad idea. While you may focus on saving money on your heating bills, the cost of fixing burst pipes will be far more than the small amount you’re trying to save. So, before going on that vacation, adjust your thermostat accordingly.
5. Open Sink Cabinets
Leaving your kitchen cabinets open is another effective strategy for winterizing your pipes when it gets cold. Usually, there are several pipes below your sink that can easily freeze due to the low temperature in this cold and dark area. Even though these pipes are inside your home, heat may not reach these spaces. On extremely cold days, ensure you leave the cabinets open so the warm air circulating in your indoor space can reach below the sink and warm up these pipes. This way, you won’t have to worry about pipes freezing or bursting in that area.
6. Let Faucets Drip
If you expect to have a cold snap, it’s advisable to leave your faucets open. This may not sound like a good idea, but it will go a long way in preventing damage during the coldest days. Leaving a small trickle of water to constantly drip from your faucets reduces the chances of freezing since the water is at a steady flow.
7. Flush Your Water Heater
While flushing your water heater may seem like a big pain, it’s an important winterization measure. It ensures you’ll have warm water when you need it most. A simple hose hooked from the unit to a sink in the basement can drain about 30 to 60 gallons, which is what a typical tank in many homes holds. We also recommend reinstalling the drain valve plug so you don’t accidentally attempt to drain the water tank again, which can damage it. Flushing the water heater ensures that all the sediments and particles that may be at the bottom of your unit get washed away. Eliminating these sediments also prevents clogs and rust in the drain valve and helps extend your water heater’s lifespan. Also, draining the heater ensures your home doesn’t run out of hot water as you wait for it to heat up. Although it is possible for a homeowner to perform this task, it’s quite a chore, and we recommend you allow our professionals to do it for you.
8. Seal Open Spaces
Many areas in your home are insulated to ensure your indoors remains warm during the cold days. However, open spaces such as the attic, basement, garage, and crawl spaces are usually not heavily insulated. Some of these spaces have no insulation at all, while others have gaps that allow cold air to seep through and reach your plumbing system. Seek assistance from an experienced professional to assess these areas and seal any openings. This way, the cold won’t wreak havoc on your piping even when the temperature drops well below freezing.
Seek Professional Assistance From Our Outstanding Plumbing Team
It’s likely that you or someone you know has experienced plumbing problems during the winter. The bitter cold can lead to pipes freezing, cracking, or bursting. Note that water from burst pipes can destroy your walls, ceiling, and floors. To protect this vital infrastructure in your home, ensure you work with plumbing experts to winterize your plumbing. Taking the right measures to protect your plumbing system will ensure it survives the snow.
At Express Plumbing Heating & Air, we offer top-level plumbing services and more to keep your home comfortable all year round. We are a family-owned company with a highly qualified and experienced team that strives to provide 100% satisfaction to every customer. Since 2006, we have worked toward offering exceptional services on every task, and we have an A+ rating from the BBB. Whenever you book our services, you know you have the right professionals by your side. We believe in ongoing training and investing in all the right tools to complete any assignment successfully. Besides offering a full range of plumbing services, including inspection, installation, drain cleaning, and repair, we also handle duct cleaning, indoor air quality services, and both heating and cooling installation, repair, and maintenance.
Get in touch with us today to schedule any plumbing or HVAC service you need in the Boise area.