There are a few things that homeowners should do in the winter to keep their plumbing healthy; these tips are fairly common knowledge. Leave the water dripping when it is very cold out. Wrap pipes and keep a heat lamp or heated pipe wrapping on those that are located in basements, crawlspaces and garages where the temperature can drop below freezing. These are all important tasks to ensure that you have water flowing even during the most frigid weather. However, there are some things that many homeowners forget to do that can result in a huge bill from the emergency plumber.
Have Your System Checked in the Fall
It's important to get regular checkups for a home's plumbing system; once a year is recommended. This can be done in the fall, just before the coldest season sets in. The plumber will inspect drains to ensure no blockages are present that could freeze and bust a drain, causing a major leak and cleanup bill. Plumbers will also make sure the pipes that feed water into the home are in good condition, with no cracks or leaks that could be exacerbated by frigid temperatures.
Avoid Harsh and Abrasive Drain Cleaners
Harsh and abrasive drain cleaners do a great job of keeping debris, grease and hair out of drains so water flows freely. However, these abrasive chemicals can also damage plumbing components. It may be a slightly higher up-front cost to call a plumber to rectify a clog, but it will save a homeowner money in the long-term, as there will be no large bill for the plumber to replace pipes.
Keep Warm Water Flowing
This is a common mistake in the winter. Homeowners remember to leave water trickling from a faucet, and simply turn on the cold water tap. They wake up in the morning to take a hot shower before work, and are greeted with nothing but ice cold water. Homeowners should leave warm water trickling overnight, to keep the water heater from freezing. This is especially important if the water heater is in a cold garage or crawlspace. Additionally, homeowners should open a faucet at the end of the house that is farthest from the water heater and the pipes that come into the home. This will ensure that the entire water system in the home stays free of ice and water flows freely to every faucet in the home.