Plumbing tips for winter can vary depending on where you live. Temperatures in the Gulf South may not always compete with what is going on up North, but we still need to prepare our homes for winter. Prepping your pipes for cold temperatures may seem extreme, but not doing so could put you or your family in risky situations. Those who don’t winterize their plumbing are more likely to take on unexpected and expensive damages, and a burst pipe will put a damper on any holiday. Louisianians are used to warmer temperatures, so they are not used to adapting their homes to the cold and may not know where to start. Luckily, Goodbee Plumbing is on the case!
Give your home the best possible protection this season by following these plumbing tips for winter.
Top 5 Plumbing Tips for Winter
1. Shut off Outside Faucets
One of the easiest plumbing tips for winter to forget is turning off your outside faucets. Out of sight, out of mind is a saying that is true for many people, but forgetting this crucial step could be costly. Any leftover water in pipes makes them vulnerable to damage if they freeze over. Exposed outdoor faucets still run through the walls in your home, and a rupture from one of these could cause expensive damages to your home and possessions. A pipe burst repair can cost anywhere from $400-$1500, and that’s the repair alone. That price doesn’t cover whatever items in your home get damaged by those waters.
To guard your home against frozen pipes, turn off all outdoor faucets with a shutoff valve and ensure all water drains out. Next, disconnect and drain hoses from spigots and store them somewhere until spring. When you’re done, seal hose bibs with insulated covers so that no heat can travel through the wall and out through the pipe.
2. Insulate Pipes
Exposed pipes in unheated areas like attics or garages are vulnerable to freezing, so be sure to add pipe insulations to any around your home. Insulation comes in various forms, including foam, fiberglass, or polyethylene, and is available at most hardware stores. To ensure the pipe is well protected, insulate the entire length of the pipe from the water line immersion point to where it enters heated space. An additional heat cable can be installed with the insulation to give the pipe the best chance to keep warm.
Note that some homes may have different insulation needs for their hot and cold water pipes, so check your system thoroughly before purchasing materials.
3. Run Faucets if You Expect a Freeze
If the forecast predicts freezing, turn every faucet in your home to drip before you go to sleep. Flowing water reduces the chance of frozen pipes. Water flow also prevents pressure from building up between the faucet and ice if the pipes do freeze, and this decreased pressure lowers your chances of a pipe bursting. The only exception to this rule is faucets with drains on exterior walls since these drains may freeze. However, dripping these faucets may risk the sink overflowing and you picking up the bill for flood damage.
4. Inspect and Drain Water Heaters
Hot water is more needed than ever during winter, so it is essential to check that the water heater is working fully before the cold sets in. This is best left up to a professional, who can make any adjustments they see fit. If you’re tempted to adjust the water heater’s temperature, avoid turning it above 125℉. Going above this wastes energy and makes water come out at scalding temperatures.
Draining your water heater is crucial to make sure the water you use each day is healthy. Over time, hard water makes dirt and other sediment build up within the heater, and if left unchecked, this sediment can rust and flow into your drinking water. Draining the water heater removes some of the sediment and lets you inspect the quality of your home’s water. If the water coming out is rust-colored, consider replacing the water heater with a new model, preferably before wintertime.
5. Keep Home Temperatures Up
One of the essential plumbing tips for winter is to keep the temperature inside the home at a consistent level. While it is tempting to turn down the heat to save energy and money, especially when you’re not home, turning it down too much can risk the integrity of your pipes. Overall, the home temperature can affect every line in the home, even the ones you cannot see, and an unnoticed rupture can cause a significant amount of damage depending on how long it’s flowing.
Do not turn down your thermostat lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit during the wintertime. However, suppose you still want to save money on energy. In that case, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting it around 68 degrees Fahrenheit you are awake and lowering it at nighttime or when you’re away from home. It’s crucial to find the temperature that works for your household to find the best balance.
Goodbee Plumbing: Your Winter Plumbing Experts
Even if you follow all of these plumbing tips for winter, all the preparation in the world cannot always prevent accidents from happening. If you discover your home has a plumbing issue of any kind, call on Goodbee Plumbing. We are experts in the plumbing industry, so we’ve seen just about every problem during every season. We know how to handle tough seasonal jobs thanks to the skills of our local team, who work tirelessly through any weather to make sure our clients are safe and satisfied. If there is an emergency, our same-day services will have a technician over these quick as light.
From plumbing to sewage to gas inspections, Goodbee provides well-rounded service to many different areas throughout Louisiana. So whether you experience only a light chill or an unexpected freeze, Goodbee has your back this winter. Contact us today and let us know how we can help.