October 28, 2015 Guest Post
Plumbing refers to the system of drains, pipes, valves, fixtures and fittings installed for proper distribution of safe water for drinking, waterborne waste removal, heating and washing. Plumbing also refers to the skills and knowledge of installing and maintaining of the fittings, fixtures, drains, pipes and valves in a building.
It is often affected by seasonal changes such as winter hence the need for necessary precautions by every home owner so as to avoid inconveniences brought about by the effects of winter on plumbing.
During winter temperatures can often drop to extremely low levels making the pipes to freeze and to sometimes to even burst. The reason why the pipes do freeze and bust during winter is because of the pressure between the blockage and the tightly closed faucet.
The pipes and other plumbing materials can also crack during extreme weather conditions as winter in that during the day, they are exposed to warm temperatures hence expand and then contract at night following the sharp drops in temperatures. The fluctuations in temperatures leads to cracking of the pipes causing them to leak.
However, on the bright side, there are a number of tips that can help one to reduce the risk or even avoid damage to plumbing caused by cold winter.
The following are some of the preventive measures that a home owner could take so in view of a coming winter season so as to avoid damage to their plumbing and the inconveniences that do come with it.
Fix any plumbing leaks in advance
The homeowner should check all the faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms and utility rooms for puddles and drips to ensure that any leaks, no matter how small they may seem to be, is properly taken care of as soon as it is noticed so as to avoid the damage from spreading to other places. Identify and repair even the tiniest leaks because as soon as the freezing starts, there is high chances of the damage spreading to other places.
Insulate the plumbing pipes
During the cold winter temperatures, the water can easily freeze inside the pipes causing them to burst. Bust pipes can cause flooding, damage to the rugs, furniture and much more. In order to reduce the possibility of frozen pipes, the loft and the water tank should be insulated, each uninsulated pipe should be wrapped in a blanket of foam. Also known as lagging, the foam is available in most hardware stores and should be put properly around the pipes using a duct tape since they are not very adhesive.
Ensure your water heater is in good shape
If you live in oceanic regions or other regions with hard water, sediments can build up in your tank causing it to rust. If the water heater is already rusted, then it can be a good idea to get a new one. The water heater can also be insulated on the outside to ensure that not so much energy is used in making it work during the cold winter temperatures.
Disconnect the garden hose, or ensure there is no water remaining in the inside them during winter
During winter, it is a good practice to disconnect and keep your garden hose since leaving it in the garden or in the compound can cause the water left inside to freeze and expand. This in turn freezes the faucets and connecting pipes as well which may lead to bursting of the pipes and even faucets. Therefore disconnecting the garden hose and keeping it in the house is a good practice since it saves on the repair cost that could result if it is not done. Alternatively, one could get a professional ATS Gas plumber to clear the hose using compressed air to ensure that there is no water inside it during the winter period.
Close any water going to the outside faucets
If water is let to go to the outside faucets during winter it may freeze which may cause damage to the plumbing infrastructure even inside the house. To avoid this undesirable outcome, all valves leading water outdoor should be shut and the water drained from outside lines. Ignoring this minor detail may lead to a break or a leak in the water line.
Clean up the cesspool and ensure the sump pump is working properly
Before winter, it is advisable to inspect the sump pump and ensure it is working properly so that during the long winter rains, the cesspool does not flood the basement causing discomfort in the house when the sump pump malfunctions.