Fall & Winter
One of the worst plumbing problems is frozen pipes during extremely cold winter weather. Unfortunately, freezing pipes often burst, which can create a big, expensive, and very inconvenient mess. Thankfully, there are steps you can take at home to prevent your pipes from bursting.
Whether you are home or away on vacation, keep your heat on. Pipes freeze because they’re exposed to cold. If you turn off your heat completely, you aren’t giving your pipes any protection from the freezing temperatures. It may seem pointless to keep the heat on when you aren’t home, especially if you are away on vacation, but keeping your thermostat set at 55°F or above at all times can help prevent the water in your pipes from freezing.
Pipes burst because the water inside has frozen and expanded or because there is buildup of water behind a blockage of ice. When prolonged cold hits, allowing your pipes to drip maintains a constant flow of water, which can prevent freezing. You can also open the cabinets under your sinks or other areas that house your pipes to allow the heat from your home to warm them.
Your garden hoses are also susceptible to freezing. Water can be trapped inside a hose from the last time it was used and freeze, causing the hose to expand, crack, and break, potentially also damaging the faucet it is connected to. It’s best to disconnect your outside hoses and store them away to avoid this problem.
If your pipes freeze, you can take steps to fix the problem. First, find the pipes that are frozen. If only a drip or no water at all comes out of the faucet, or if the water won’t drain, it’s likely that your pipes are frozen.
There are a few ways to thaw a pipe. If the pipe is exposed, such as under your sink, you can use a hairdryer, hot towels, heat tape, or even a space heater to carefully heat and thaw the pipe. If the pipes are not exposed, turning up the heat in your home may do the trick. If this doesn’t work, you could cut into where the pipe is and unfreeze it as you would an exposed pipe. This could be a larger job, so if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own, reach out to a professional before the frozen pipe becomes a burst pipe.
Ways to Save Money
In winter, your home needs to use more energy than usual to heat water. There are some simple ways to use less water in order to keep your bills under control during the winter months. One of the easiest ways to save water is to be mindful when you’re using it. When shaving, brushing your teeth, or washing your hands, keep the water on only when you are actually using it. Every second adds up, so this can end up making a noticeable difference in your bill.
Most people have a dishwasher and a washing machine in their home. Before running either, make sure you have a full load of dishes or a full load of clothes to cut back on the number of loads you have to do. The fewer loads you do, the more water, energy, and money you save.
Spring & Summer
Flooding and Leakage
Spring and summer are known for the rain they bring. Large amounts of rain can lead to flooding in basements and wreak havoc on your plumbing. Outdoors, it’s important to keep your gutters clear of leaves and twigs. Otherwise, debris buildup can create blockages and lead to an overflow of water. You’ll also want to pay attention to your roof during these months and stay on top of any small leaks as they appear. If you let a small leak slide, it can easily grow into a large problem that causes serious damage.
In the world of plumbing, corrosion is the deterioration of pipes because of exposure to water. Over time, the pipe begins to disintegrate into the water as a result of chemical reactions. If a pipe is corroded, it could be compromised. Corroded pipes are known for causing damage to heaters, appliances, and fixtures as well as making water unsafe to drink.
It’s important to bring in professional help as soon as you see signs of corrosion in your pipes, such as discoloration, stains, or flaking. You should also always be mindful of the taste and look of your water. If it begins to have a metallic taste or if you see discoloration, this could be a sign of corroded pipes, and you should contact a plumbing professional promptly to assess the situation.
Septic Tank Problems
Septic tanks work by utilizing a drain field. When your yard gets a lot of extra precipitation in the spring and summer, it can become saturated and unable to absorb your home’s wastewater. To avoid septic tank backup, get it inspected and pumped before the rainy season.
Check Your Sump Pump
It is a good idea to test and clean your sump pump to make sure it is still working effectively before spring rains arrive. Keep checking on your sump pump every few months to keep your home protected from flooding.