When the winter time comes around, there are a number of household maintenance issues you need to keep an eye on, ranging from ice on the driveway to snow buildup on the roof. Failure to tend to some of these problems can lead to unnecessary damage and repairs. Plumbing, in particular, is a concern because the freezing temps can cause pipes and their contents to contract and expand, which can result in clogs, burst pipes, and other weather-related problems. With that said, here are a few things you can do to make sure you're prepared to confront any plumbing problems next winter season:
1. Have a Good Plumber on Call
The first thing you'll want to do is make sure you have a good reliable plumber that you can trust. Preferably you'll want to choose one with plenty of good reviews online, and one that will take calls after hours in emergency situations. The best way to find a list of plumbers in your area is to type the word “plumbers” and then the name of your city into Google or another search engine. For example, if you live in Toronto then you could search for “plumbers Toronto” to pull up local listings.
2. Don't Dump Grease, Oil, or Fat Down the Sink
Although you may be used to emptying cooking oil into the sink during the summer time, it's not a good idea, especially during the winter because anything that is oil-based will congeal and solidify in the pipes. Then you wind up with a situation where food and other items get clogged in the hardened fats, creating a stubborn clog that will require the use of degreasers and possibly a plumber's help.
3. Run the Water Occasionally When It's Below Freezing for Extended Periods
When the weather is below freezing for extended periods of time, it's a good idea to run the water to keep the pipes from freezing. When the pipes freeze, you won't be able to get any running water from your faucet. Thus, a good measure is to let lukewarm-to-hot water for 30 minutes to an hour at a time.
4. Give Pipes Time to Warm Up
Try not to turn the hot water on quickly when it's very cold outside. If the pipes are beginning to freeze and you run very hot water through them they could crack, which would cause a leak and subsequent loss of water pressure. Let the water gradually go from cold to lukewarm and then hot to avoid any sudden temperature changes that could cause cracking.
The Importance of Being Aware
Whether you're the property owner or a tenant, if you're the one looking after the home then it’s important to heed the above advice and keep watch over the plumbing situation during cold weather. Neglecting these steps or ignoring these warnings could lead to plumbing damage that costs hundreds or even thousands to fix. Save yourself the hassle and cost of having to deal with that by simply taking care of your pipes during the winter season.