The holiday season has officially arrived, and with it comes the cold weather. As a Las Vegas plumber, I do not frequently run into snow or ice problems, but it does get cold enough to cause some plumbing issues.
Why does colder weather affect plumbing?
When water freezes, it expands, which causes an increase in pressure on whatever is containing it. Pipes that are exposed to the elements will be affected by this weather change. Plumbing that is not heated (outside hose bibs, main water lines, pool supply lines, etc.) will therefore be more susceptible to breakage in the winter months.
What can you do to prevent plumbing issues during the winter?
Though some disasters cannot be prevented, there are steps that can be taken to lessen the chance of a plumbing catastrophe.
- Fix any plumbing leaks you have noticed outside of the home
- Wrap pipes in a foam blanket to prevent them from freezing
- Run water through pipes to prevent freezing
- Remove debris from gutters and downspouts
- Remove and empty water from garden hoses
- Irrigation system turned off and drained
- Drain water heaters (which should be done annually) to remove sediment or rust inside the unit, and inspect them. Water heaters tend to burst more in winter months.
- Wrap water heaters with an insulation blanket
- Inspect your sump pump pit if you have one
- Winterize pools
- Shut off valves leading outside should be closed and drains
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- Have a thorough plumbing inspection done on your home prior to any holiday travel
- Put your water heater on vacation mode
- Adjust your thermostat (no lower than 50-55 degress)
- Leave cabinets underneath faucets open to provide more heat to the pipes
- Shut off the water at the main shut off valve
Hopefully these tips will help you prepare your plumbing for the colder months ahead of us! No one ever wants a plumbing disaster to strike, but especially during the holiday season. By being proactive and preparing your plumbing for the winter, you can save money on costly repairs which means more money for presents!