By Victoria Brown
Wintertime can be fun, but the colder months are tough on plumbing. This is especially true if you live in an area where the cold season means temperatures frequently dipping below zero.
Then again, no matter how cold it gets, there are always steps you should take to ensure that your plumbing doesn't get as much punishment during the more frigid months. Here are some plumbing tips that may come in handy this winter:
Insulated pipes are less likely to burst
Cracked pipes are a common problem in much of the U.S. during the winter. Caused by water freezing inside the pipes, this problem is particularly rampant with exposed pipes.
One of the surest measures to prevent pipes from bursting is to insulate them. Some folks use foam pipe covers, while others use spiral-wrap or fiberglass insulation. You can do it yourself, but calling a reliable plumbing service to perform the installation is a safer bet.
Running a faucet keeps pipes from freezing
Letting a faucet drip can help relieve some of the pressure on your pipes during the winter months. More importantly, water running slowly through the pipes isn't likely to freeze. Just leaving your faucet dripping may sound wasteful, but considering how much damage a burst pipe can cause, a slight increase in your water bill is a much more frugal option.
Put hoses in storage
Never leave your garden hose connected to a faucet during the winter. The cold will freeze not only the water remaining inside the hose, but also every single drop left inside the faucet. Disconnect the hose, empty it and put it away until spring.
Keep your drains clear
All your drains must be kept clear during the colder months, because the debris inside them can freeze, as well. Be sure that your drains aren't clogged—any amount of standing water inside your drain pipes will likely freeze and cause you major headaches.
Keep the heat running when you're on vacation
When you're off on vacation and no one will be home for several days, or even weeks, you can prevent your plumbing from freezing by keeping your heat on low while you're away.
Winter plumbing issues can quickly become major problems. Finding a plumber who is willing to work on your pipes in the middle of winter is not easy. By taking the necessary precautions and following the plumbing tips listed above, your chances of avoiding cracked or burst pipes this winter will increase considerably.
Victoria Brown is the content specialist for Pipetech Plumbing & Rooter, an expert plumbing repair services company in Chandler, Ariz., that caters to residential and commercial needs. She enjoys yoga and hiking with her family and friends.