Your home’s water pipes are your plumbing system’s veins. Taking steps to extend the life of your pipes is the most effective approach to ensure the entire system operates more efficiently and lasts longer. You use the pipes in your home from the moment you shower in the morning to when you brush your teeth at night. As a result, they will inevitably endure some wear and tear over time. Fortunately, by following a few basic procedures, you can safeguard your water pipes and extend their life, and help to prevent frozen pipes and flooded basements or crawl spaces when it thaws. Continue reading for more information, and be sure to contact Smedley plumbing for all your plumbing service needs, knowing you’re getting a licensed plumber with our 10,000-hour minimum guarantee!
Protecting your water pipes and water supply lines from freezing and bursting can help you avoid costly damage to your property. When frozen water pipes burst, they can release a tremendous amount of water into your home, which has the potential to cause significant water damage. In addition, when frozen pipes thaw, the water leaking from broken water supply lines can seep through floors, walls, and ceilings, causing substantial water damage to your property that can be costly to repair.
Your exterior pipes, such as those connected to sprinklers and pools, or the hoses and spigots throughout your home, are at a higher risk of freezing and cold air coming in this winter. In addition, pipes in areas such as your garage, attic, or basement may also freeze if the temperature drops too low. Finally, even certain pipes beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks may freeze.
Fortunately, there are DIY steps to help stop the cold air from getting to your water pipes, by taking the following precautions:
Prepare your Plumbing System for the Winter
When the weather is cold, it is important to ensure that all outdoor lines, including sprinkler systems, are shut off and adequately drained. When pipes freeze, it is sometimes because it wasn’t winterized properly.
Consider Insulating Your Pipes
You may purchase pipe insulation equipment, such as pipe sleeves, to keep your external pipes safer from freezing temperatures. These devices are affordable, especially compared to repairing a broken pipe, or spigot that your garden hoses attach to, or outdoor faucets.
Maintain the Heat
If you plan to take an extended vacation during the winter months, leave your heat on and set your thermostat at a minimum of 55 degrees to prevent your house and pipes from becoming too chilly. Opening your kitchen cabinet doors with the heat on can help the warm air reach the water pipes, especially if it’s on an exterior wall, where uninsulated pipes are at risk. If you are leaving your home, we do not recommend leaving a space heater on. Heat tape or heat cable is another way homeowners can maintain the heat, as well as caulking around windows, ensuring a good seal with their home’s entry and garage doors.
Allow faucets to have a slow water drip – this very small amount of running water through the faucet can help to keep the water from freezing in an unheated area in a cold snap. If the cold winter weather becomes freezing and you’re concerned about exposed water lines or lines in exterior walls, you may prefer to leave faucets linked to those lines flowing at a trickle, until higher temperatures return. Even a slight increase in flow might make it difficult for your plumbing pipes to freeze during cold weather, whether an outside unit, kitchen sink, garage sink, etc.
You can avoid frozen pipes by contacting a professional plumber, like Smedley Plumbing, to thoroughly inspect your home’s plumbing system. At Smedley Plumbing, our expert plumbers have the experience and skills necessary to detect weak points in your plumbing system and take preventative actions to avoid problems.
Additionally, our experts will inspect the unheated sections of your water lines. We can also insulate both cold and hot water lines in areas such as the basement, garage, and under cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen if necessary. When it comes to plumbing, you should call Smedley. We fix issues when they arise, but we will also put preventative measures in place, such as pipe sleeves and insulation or heat tape and heat cable, to insulate exposed water pipes. This helps to ensure that your pipes are protected during cold spells.
If your pipes DO freeze, here are a few things you can do:
Get heat on it – whether using a hair dryer or a space heater to thaw frozen pipes, when applying heat, make sure to have the faucet open so you can see as water flow is restored. Open the hot and cold water sides of the faucet.
We do NOT recommend anyone other than a licensed plumber using a blowtorch or open flame of any kind on frozen pipes.
The Top Ways to Extend the Life of Your Pipes
Reduce Your Water Pressure
The water pressure in your home should not exceed 85 PSI (pounds per square inch.) If the pressure is high, it can accelerate the wear and tear on your pipes and connections, possibly causing them to rupture. Maintain a water pressure gauge on your system to avoid this, and if your water pressure remains excessive even after you adjust it, give us a call.
Clean Your Drains Properly
Routine drain cleaning is the most efficient way to remove muck and obstructions from your lines and extend their lives.
Since clogging in your drains can result in leaking or broken pipes, it is important to clean your pipes at least once or twice a year. While you may be tempted to use a chemical drain cleaner to do this, you should avoid using any store-bought goods since over-the-counter drain cleaners can include toxic chemicals that may cause your pipes to deteriorate quicker.
Address Leaks Immediately
While you may believe a minor leak is insignificant, even small leaks may become a significant problem. If you hear a drip-drip coming from your pipes, contact Smedley Plumbing immediately for water leak detection to avoid future repiping.
Avoid Flushing Solid Materials
While most people are aware that they should not flush solid materials down the toilet, there are still a number of products that are surprisingly easy to flush. Wet wipes, for example, should never be flushed regardless of the label. These things frequently cause blockages in your pipes, forcing you to pay for burst pipe repair.
Slow Drains Should Be Addressed
Slow drains can be a symptom of most of the issues mentioned above and should always be addressed immediately. If your drains are running slowly, there is a significant probability you will have a blockage. If left untreated for an extended period, any blockage can create problems. We recommend that you first attempt to plunge or snake them out and if the problem continues, contact our plumbing professionals. Our experts can resolve clogged drains, blockages, and any other plumbing issues you may have, ensuring that your pipes continue to function effectively for as long as possible.
Contact The Experts at Smedley Plumbing
At Smedley Plumbing, we take the necessary precautions to keep your water pipes from freezing. Protecting your water pipes can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repairs. Contact us for more information about our services or to schedule an appointment! We believe you and your home deserve the best plumbing services available from experts you can trust.