Plumbing is one of the most important components of your home, yet it's one that's frequently overlooked until there's a major issue. Your plumbing system should get a little extra attention each year at the beginning of winter. Doing so will allow you to attend to annual plumbing maintenance tasks, while preventing potential mishaps like burst pipes at the same time. Here are six tips for getting your plumbing system ready for winter:
Have Your Drains Cleaned
It's a great idea to have your drains cleaned once a year by a professional from a company like Gold Seal Plumbing, and the beginning of winter when you're already attending to other plumbing-related tasks is the perfect time to do so. Your pipes are less likely to freeze and burst if all debris and clogs have been cleared ahead of time. Having your drains and pipes flushed out with high pressure water can keep everything flowing more efficiently, reduce the risk of annoying clogs or slow drains, and get rid of any bad smells emanating from your drains.
Insulate Your Pipes
If any of your hot water pipes run through unheated parts of your home, like a crawlspace for example, they should be insulated. Insulated pipes work more efficiently, giving you hotter water faster than uninsulated pipes without using quite as much energy.
Even more importantly, insulated pipes are much less likely to freeze and burst during the cold winter months, potentially preventing a costly mess. You can pay a professional to insulate your hot water pipes for you, or buy pipe insulation at a home improvement store and wrap them yourself.
Blow Out Your Sprinklerse
Every year you should have a professional come out and blow out your sprinklers and outdoor hoses. This gets all the water out of the sprinkler and hose system, which prevents them from freezing and becoming damaged. After blowing them out, you will want to neatly wrap up all your hoses and store them indoors, like in a shed, where they will be protected from the elements.
You will be glad you did this next summer when you still have a properly working sprinkler system. If you are handy and have access to an air compressor, you can even try blowing out your sprinkler system yourself to save a little money.
Insulate Your Hot Water Heater
If your hot water heater isn't already insulated (a lot of newer models come insulated), you can insulate it yourself by purchasing a hot water heater blanket at a home improvement store. First, try calling your utility company since sometimes utility companies offer free or cheap hot water heater blankets to their customers. Wrapping your hot water heater in an insulated blanket will help it work much more efficiently and keep the hot water flowing well on even the coldest days of winter.
Fix Any Leaks
This is the time to inspect your pipes and look for leaks. Leaky pipes are wasteful year-round, but can really contribute to problems with freezing and burst pipes in the winter. If you notice any leaks, call a plumbing repair company as soon as possible.
Don't Forget Your Furnace
You may not think your furnace has anything to do with your plumbing system, but in the winter the two go hand-in-hand. If your furnace is working effectively, your house and therefore pipes will be adequately warm and much less likely to burst. It's a good idea to change your furnace filter at the start of winter, and also have your furnace inspected by a professional to ensure it's working as well as possible.
Spending a little time on winter plumbing maintenance will help keep your plumbing system in great working order and prevent potentially costly problems.