Winter weather is just around the corner, and it’s time to get your home ready. That means calling for heating maintenance, making sure your electrical system is ready for lights, and doing any work in the yard before it gets too cold out. But is your plumbing system ready for winter? Too often, homeowners overlook their pipes and appliances during the change in seasons. This can lead to problems either sooner or later. Keep reading to learn more about how to winterize your plumbing system, courtesy of our skilled plumbers at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical.
3 Steps to Get Your Plumbing System Winter Ready
- Flush Everything Out: Leaving water in your pipes when the temperature dips can be extremely problematic, as this may lead to freezing and from there to bursting—aka pretty much the worst thing that can happen to your pipes. That’s why it is a good idea to flush out your system at the beginning of the season. Turn off your water supply using the main shut-off valve and open drain valves and taps inside your house. After getting the water out of your pipes, flush your toilet bowl to remove any water that is still there. Look at the sink and tub drains for excess water, and once you have completed these inside tasks, make sure any faucets and pipes outside your house have been drained too. It is also a good idea to cover up these outdoor spigots once you have drained them, so they are protected throughout the season.
- Check for Clogs: If you have guests coming over this holiday season, your plumbing system is probably going to be getting a lot more use. This can lead to clogs in your appliances, which is pretty much the last thing you want to have to deal with when getting ready for the holidays. That’s why from your kitchen to your bathroom, it’s a good idea to check for clogs sooner rather than later. Start by making sure your garbage disposal is in good shape, and never put anything but small food scraps down it throughout the course of the season (that means no bones from that Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham!) It is also not a bad idea to have a professional do this for you, as the garbage disposal impeller is sharp, and accidents can occur. In the bathroom, snake the drains and toilet, but DO NOT use store-bought drain cleaners, as these are extremely bad for your pipes. If you do believe you are dealing with a serious obstruction in your pipes, call a plumber to have the blockage removed for you. With hydro jetting and other professional drain and sewer services, there’s pretty much no clog our pros at All Pro can’t handle.
- Flush Out/Maintain Your Water Heater: Your water heater should be flushed out several times a year anyway, but since it has to work harder during the winter to provide the hot water you need, now is a particularly good time to get this done. Flushing your water heater out is important because as sediment builds up inside the tank, the system will become less efficient (tankless water heaters are another matter in this regard.) You may notice a loud banging noise coming from your water heater when this starts to happen, which is the sound of that sediment reacting with the heating element. You should also check your anode rod (which reduces minerals in your water heater tank) to see if it needs to be replaced. If you find you are still not getting adequate hot water after you have completed these tasks, call a professional for water heater maintenance. An experienced technician will easily be able to tell if there are any problems with your water heater, and to perform any necessary tasks to keep your system energy-efficient all season long