When winter is on the horizon, you are going to want to make sure you’re ready. However, more is involved than checking the coolant, getting winter tires, and making sure the snow blower is ready. Your home’s inner systems need to be checked as well. One of the most crucial systems is your plumbing. Taking good care of your water pipes can be a challenge, but the effort is well worth it. Often, what you cannot see may be the most important aspect of your home, and this is certainly the case with water pipes. Considering that a leaky faucet can waste literally 100 gallons of water in one day, a burst pipe can be far more wasteful. This is the primary danger when it comes to how your home performs in the winter time. Here are some tips to make sure your home’s plumbing system is ready for the winter months.
Locate the Water Main for Your Home
Your water pipes get their water from what is called a water main. This is the way water enters into your from the line provided by the municipality in which you live. Understanding what the water main does is important, but it’s just as important to know where it is located. The water main is a large pipe that feeds water into your home at a relatively high pressure. The pressure of the water inside the main is what helps your home have enough water pressure to enable you to wash dishes, do laundry and shower, sometimes all at once. The location of the water main is important to know because this may help you figure out how bad a freezing problem is if one arises. If the water is frozen all the way back to the water main, you have a completely frozen water system. If, on the other hand, your water pipes are only frozen along an exterior wall, the problem localized, and you can focus your efforts accordingly.
The location of the water main is also important to know because this is where you will be able to shut off the water to either prevent the pipes from freezing while you’re away or if they have already frozen. Either way, pinpointing its location will help you avoid or limit the damage of your water pipes freezing.
Do a Thorough Inspection
When it comes to inspecting your home’s plumbing system, it is usually good to hire a professional to take care of the job. This is advisable at least for the first time it is done. At the very least, you can follow along and learn how to do it yourself the next time. The inspection has to be carefully done, and you really don’t have the luxury of cutting corners, so it’s best to do it before it gets too cold. You will want to look out for leaking pipes. Even small leaks can provide a place for pressure to be released in the event of a freeze. A leaky area is going to be the first to get pushed out by the expanding ice as it freezes. This could result in a large leak being sprung. Of course, the moment you walk into or wake up in a house with frozen pipes, you may not even know they have been frozen. The water has turned to ice and is sitting still in the pipes. But once it thaws out, those weak spots in the pipes are going to be the most likely to burst open and start flooding your house. Be thorough and careful. Check everything.
You May Need More Insulation
Your water heater likely already has insulation. Water line repair is made much easier, however, if there is more insulation of your pipes. This is because it may limit, or eliminate, freezing in several areas. If the freezing can at least be controlled by insulation, you will have a much smaller problem on your hands. Insulation will help trap the heat already in the water as well as keep the cold out.
The water in your pipes, 99.9% of the time, is a convenient asset. However, it can be a menace given the right conditions. Taking these steps can eliminate the need to replace broken water pipes in the winter.