The holidays are upon us once again, and if you’re like us then you’re shocked at how quickly 2019 has gone by. Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away, followed closely by Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and then the decade will come to an end and it’ll be 2020. If you’re planning on hosting some sort of a gathering, party, or celebration during the holiday season, now’s the time to start preparing. With so much going on and the weather turning so cold so quickly, who really has the time or willingness to complete preparation and maintenance in the middle of the season? However, failing to do so could have some rather disastrous consequences, including forcing you to pick up the phone and call a plumber for an emergency repair you could have otherwise avoided.
When it comes to your plumbing, maintenance is actually far simpler than you might think. In fact, completing just a few standards maintenance tasks before the start of the holidays could dramatically improve your plumbing reliability, reduce the likelihood of a costly problem, and give you peace of mind that you can enjoy all holiday long.
Here are three easy-to-follow fall maintenance procedures to complete in order to enjoy a peaceful and stress-free holiday season with your plumbing.
Insulate Exposed Plumbing Lines & Fixtures
When temperatures drop below freezing, metal pipes that are exposed to the elements can also dip down to this freezing cold level. What happens to the water inside those pipes? You guessed it—prolonged exposure means the water inside also dips to sub-freezing temperatures, causing it to freeze. When water freezes, it expands, and when it has nowhere to expand to, it puts tremendous pressure on the container it’s in. When that container is your pipe, the pipe itself could crack or buckle under the pressure, resulting in a catastrophic burst.
However, preventing leaks and burst pipes due to frozen temperatures is simple with quality plumbing insulation. Plumbing insulation is a type of foam or plastic that wraps around exposed pipes, preventing the extremely cold air from making contact with the metal. This keeps the water inside your pipes at a non-freezing temperature, thus preventing this unwanted expansion and possibly avoiding leaks. When you consider the low cost of plumbing insulation, this small investment could pay for itself many times over if it helps you avoid a costly frozen pipe problem.
Flush Your Water Heater
Your water heater is going to see a lot of additional sustained use during winter months. When you wake up to a frigid home, most people opt to warm up by enjoying a slightly longer and warmer shower in the morning. Some people cook with hot water more frequently when the weather is cold, simply because it feels nice to turn on the tap. Some people also put extra strain on their heater by hosting guests to their home over the course of the next few months. Whatever your excuse may be, expect your water heater to get some extra use over the holiday season.
However, if you want to avoid a water heater flop and a costly replacement during the holidays, some simple preparation and maintenance can go a long way. For almost any tank-style water heater, flushing the tank should be something you do at least once a year. Flushing your tank is a way of removing built-up sediment and debris that naturally accumulate at the bottom. Public water usually contains a number of different substances, including minerals like calcium and magnesium, as well as small grains of dirt or dust. These substances often accumulate at the bottom of tanks as their generally heavier-than-water weight makes them sink. After a while, they form crystals that can be easily removed by flushing your water heater tank. This generally takes about an hour or so and could dramatically improve energy efficiency.
Cover Outdoor Spigots & Faucets
Outdoor faucets and spigots are about as common as yard irrigation or green lawns. They’re extremely useful, giving you a location to plug in a garden hose or get water without having to venture inside. They can be utilized for a variety of different chores. They even provide a great place for a refreshing drink if you don’t mind your tap water quality. However, these taps are prone to freezing during winter months, and as we discussed before, frozen plumbing is a recipe for a nightmare.
Fortunately, you can also quickly and easily cover your outdoor faucets and spigots to prevent them from freezing as well. A simple faucet cover takes only a few seconds to install, and are highly affordable at nearly any home and garden store. Making this effort not only prevents you from potentially having to change out one of these faucets, but could even prevent indoor plumbing lines from bursting due to freezing temperatures creeping inside your walls through the water and metal in the line that feeds the faucet.
Schedule a plumbing inspection or repair by calling Steward’s Plumbing Inc. at (505) 906-6777 today.