Plumbing tips from A1 Choice Plumbers in Kelowna & West Kelowna
Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your pipes during the winter season, but there are simple and effective things you can do to prevent the high cost of repairs and water loss due to burst pipes. Additionally, if you own a place that isn’t currently occupied, it’s a must that you get it ready for the onset of winter. Plumbing can be one of the most challenging areas of home maintenance and also potentially one of the most costly. So be proactive this winter and ensure you do everything you can to keep your plumbing system working safely and efficiently. Here are 5 ways to be prepared and save money.
A GOOD FLUSH
First off, get familiar with your home’s plumbing, and ensure you know where the main waterline valve is so that you are prepared if any problems arise. Pipes most at risk for freezing include exposed pipes in unheated areas of the home, pipes located in exterior walls, and any plumbing on the exterior of the home.
The first thing you should do to get your plumbing ready for winter is to flush the water out of your water pipes. To do this, turn off the water supply to your home. Depending on your water supply source, you can do this yourself or by contacting your water company. Next, turn on a faucet at the highest point of your home and at the lowest point. Keep them turned on until the water has drained. You may wish to turn the showers on as well to drain any excess water remaining in the pipes.
After you’ve drained the pipes in your home, use plumbers anti-freeze (this type is non toxic to humans, pets, and the environment) to help preserve the places and appliances where a small amount of water might still linger. The reason for this is so that water won’t freeze, expand and ruin anything in your home. Places to consider adding a drop of anti-freeze to include into bathtub and sink drains, and into the inside of your toilet tank. But NEVER pour any anti-freeze into your drinking system, washing machine or dishwasher.
If your pipes do freeze despite your best efforts, locate your shut off valve and turn the water off. Never try to thaw frozen pipes with an open flame, as this is a dangerous fire hazard.
Insulating your pipes is a good way of preventing them from freezing. This is especially important if you will be vacating your home for a long period of time, for example the entire winter season. Insulation keeps the water in your pipes warmer for a longer period, which means your water heater won’t have to work so hard. Make sure to clean your pipes thoroughly before wrapping them in insulation. Also, make sure the pipe is completely covered with the insulation and that it is attached securely. Often, inexpensive foam pipe insulation is enough for moderately cold climates. For severe climates, opt for wrapping problem pipes with thermostatically controlled heat tape, which will turn on at certain minimum temperatures.
Don’t forget your property beyond the four corners of your home. Outside, disconnect and drain your garden hoses. If you have a pool, drain it, along with any garden fountains or ponds, and ensure to turn off your sprinkler system as well. Wrap outside faucets and keep the wrapping dry. While you’re away, ask a neighbour to periodically check up on your property.
INSTALL FROST FREE OUTDOOR FAUCETS
Installing a frost free outdoor faucet prevents the freezing of water lines during the cold weather months. The unit style also stops contaminated water from polluting your water system. In the past, people did not connect their outdoor faucets to the home. Instead, the faucet’s shut off valves were placed underground. The underground location was low enough to be beneath the frost line. Furthermore, the water valve was connected to the above ground faucet handle. The faucet’s location ensured that it remained free of frost. If you have an old home or farm, then you may have one of these old units, and you should consider upgrading to new model.
Winter weather can cause plumbing pipes to freeze and possibly burst, causing flooding and costly water damage to your home. Taking preventive measures before winter sets in can reduce and eliminate the risk of frozen pipes and other cold-weather threats. Some of the things you can do to winterise your home are relatively cheap and easy for you to do yourself. Things like insulating your pipes, and putting away outdoor equipment are tasks that can be completed in a few hours. However, hiring a professional plumber to help you winterise your home will save you time, and means the job will be done right the first time.