As the year comes to an end and winter approaches, you need to brace yourself for the changing season. There is no denying that winters are the most joyous season of them all. You finally get to celebrate Christmas with your family, watch the trees dressed in white, and enjoy winter goodies like hot chocolate. However, the cold climate is not all fun and festivities. The dropping temperature and the weather are a menace to your plumbing. In places like Long Island New York, the winters are frigid and snowy, with temperatures varying from 39F to 24F. This means that there’s a high chance that the water in the pipes may freeze and destroy your plumbing, so what should you do to prevent this? Here are some useful tips on how you should mind your plumbing system as the weather gets colder:
1. Insulate Pipes
Long Island experiences snow for about 4.5 months. This means from late November to early April, you should expect at least 1 to 5.4 inches of snow. The low temperature causes water to freeze and builds up pressure in the pipeline network. If you leave this issue unaddressed for long, ultimately, the pipes will cave under pressure and burst, causing massive flooding. Repairing damaged pipes can also leave a significant dent in your budget. Hence, to save yourself money and to ensure your pipes make it through the winter, get them insulated. It’s best to use professional services to get the job done.
If you’re in the market looking for reputable services, all you need to do is search online using keywords such as Long Island plumbers near me and contact experts who are close to your area. Insulating pipes isn’t an easy task, so we discourage DIYing; you must ensure you have concealed them properly and applied enough heat tape. There’s a bonus of getting your pipes insulated. The extra coverage reduces water bills, keeps water heated, and improves the pipe’s longevity.
2. Repair Leaks
Pipes get weaker with time. This is common since everything has a lifespan, but it can pose a problem during the winter. Leaking pipes often indicate that there is a weak spot in the system. When the temperature drops, water in your pipes will expand, increasing the pressure. Once again, a leaking pipe can burst, which puts you at risk of flooding.
Therefore, individually investigate all the pipelines that run through your house and evaluate their condition. Ensure you take care of any minor leaks before they become a significant problem. Your proactiveness will save you time and money, allowing you to cruise through the winters peacefully.
3. Look After Outdoor Faucets
If you have a yard or a garden, make sure they are not left unattended. During winter, outdoor faucets can easily freeze and become damaged.
If you forget to turn off the water, it can freeze inside, which can result in severe damage to your plumbing system. Hence, start by disconnecting hoses from outdoor spigots and storing them away. Likewise, drain any outdoor pipe to prevent them from freezing. Mostly, the water source for the outdoor faucet has a valve for turning the water on and off. If you have a separate valve for your garden gear, you may want to turn that off for the winter.
4. Know Where the Main Valve Is
Sometimes, no matter the precautions you take, there is still a chance your pipes may burst. In such cases, your only line of defense is turning off the main valve. You need to know where it is located in your house and, if you live in an apartment complex, what floor it is at. This way, if you ever face an emergency or have to deal with a damaged pipeline system, you can minimize the damage by turning it off. But keep this method as a last resort, and don’t use the valve unless needed.
5. Inspect Your Water Heater
Another appliance that needs a careful evaluation is your water heater. No one wants to take a cold shower in the middle of winter. This is why, before November rolls around, you should inspect your water heater and ensure it’s running at its maximum efficiency. This process takes time, so starting early saves you from rushing through it. You need to start by checking if the water tank is sufficiently insulated. If not, you may want to wrap it in an insulating blanket. The location of your water heater also plays a role in the appliance’s function.
Water heaters that are in chilly garages and drafty basements need more coverage than those located in warmer areas. When you’re sure your water heater is insulated enough, look at the vents and exhausts. Look for any debris that could block your water heaters, such as leaves and dust. Water heaters that don’t get sufficient insulation cannot function properly and, in the worst case, get damaged. If you feel the mesh covering is too dirty or needs changing, get it reinstalled.
6. Install a Flood Stop System
You should look into installing a flood-stop system; this ensures that your house will not get flooded if your water heater gets damaged, resulting in leakage. A flood stop system is installed near the water heater. It is hard-wired into your electrical system with a battery backup. The flood stop system uses a sensor. If it detects water, the system will shut off the supply to the appliance and activate an alarm. Hence, invest in a flood-stop system if you want to take extra precautions during winter.
7. Turn Off the Water When Not in Use
One of the easiest ways to save your plumbing from getting damaged is by turning off the system when you’re not using it. If you’re going out of town or know no one will be at your place, switch off the main valve. However, if you have pipes outside your house that tend to get highly pressurized in the winter, you may want to let them drip a little. Allowing some water to escape prevents pressure from accumulating in these pipes.
Winters can be disastrous for your pipes, but not if you take the preventive measures to save your system. The cold temperature can cause water to freeze, which leads to numerous problems for your pipeline network. Therefore, prepare the infrastructure for the cold season ahead if you want a smooth winter. If needed, contact plumbing experts to look after your pipes for you. The work may seem like a hassle initially, but by ensuring everything is functioning as it should, you save yourself significant damage in the long run.