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Top 12 Winter Plumbing Tips

by Nevie Sessoms, Owner One Stop Plumbing

With these winter plumbing tips, your house will be ready for cold weather. Like you, your house needs to be wrapped up and kept warm this winter. The only difference is your house needs a little more than a fluffy blanket and a hot beverage to do the trick. With colder days here, we’ve put together tips to keep your plumbing working throughout the winter.

Here are the Top 12 Winter Plumbing Tips

1. If the forecast is calling for below-freezing temperatures, open the cabinet doors under your sinks.

This will help warm air from your home circulate near your pipes. If you keep your home at a steady, warm temperature in the winter, this can help prevent frozen pipes.

Frozen pipe showing result of not using winter plumbing tips

2. In extreme cold, you can take it one step further and let your faucets drip.

To avoid wasting valuable natural resources, this is only a temporary fix. But when extreme cold is on the horizon, letting your faucets drip can help you avoid frozen pipes. This steady water flow makes it harder for the water in your pipes to freeze. It will also remove some of the pressure from your pipes.

3. Insulate your garage door and any pipes leading to your water heater and HVAC in your garage to prevent a possible disaster.

Your garage can get really cold in the winter because it’s not heated and insulated. In addition, there is a giant garage door! It’s important to insulate your garage door — or even your whole garage — to avoid frozen or damaged pipes. Don’t forget about your water heater, furnace, and air handler. The pipes leading to these should be insulated too.

4. Another of our winter plumbing tips: Conserve your water heater and run your dishwasher at night.

Running your dishwasher at night is a good way to conserve hot water during the day. The same is true for your washing machine and other appliances that use hot water. Running these appliances at night alleviates some of the strain on your water heater.

5.: Sink not draining? Toilet not flushing?

In addition to the common clogs from grease, hair, and those non-“disposable wipes,” your sewer line is vulnerable during the winter months. If it’s below freezing for a long enough time, the ground will freeze, and this can lead to a frozen sewer line. And if it’s already cracked or has roots growing in it, you’ll have an even bigger plumbing problem. This is why preventative maintenance on your sewer line is so important.

6. Have your plumber perform maintenance on your pipes and sewer line with a Camera Snake and locator for Advanced Pipe Inspections and Hydro Jetting.

A licensed plumber can use a camera snake to perform advanced pipe inspections. These inspections can tell them if you have any severe clogs in your pipes and sewer lines. If you do, they can use hydro jetting, also known as water jetting, and other technology to clear out the clogs. Clear pipes and sewer lines are much less likely to freeze and burst as temperatures drop.

7. Keep your home warm to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Whether you’re at home or away on vacation, you need to keep your home warm. Your house works like insulation for your plumbing, especially during the winter’s cold temperatures. Set your thermostat to at least 55ºF or higher at all times. This will keep warm air circulating and prevent your pipes from freezing.

Person using a plunger on a clogged sink

8. Our winter plumbing tips include installing heat tape to exposed pipes.

To protect your plumbing pipes, consider installing heat tape to exposed or vulnerable pipes. Heat tape is particularly useful for pipes that have frozen in the past. Find the best heat tape for your pipes and install it per the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid a fire. Like a well-insulated space, heat tape can help prevent your pipes from freezing.

9. Make sure all outdoor drain lines are clear of debris, like leaves and dirt.

Leaves, dirt, and other debris can settle in drain lines during the fall, and it can prevent the water from draining out. Thus, the water won’t drain, and it might freeze. This, in turn, can lead to a leak or even a burst in your outdoor drain lines. To avoid this, clear out debris from these drain lines at regular intervals.

10. Don’t forget about your sump pump because it can freeze, too!

When temperatures dip below freezing, a sump pump is at risk of freezing, too. You can prevent this by regularly inspecting and cleaning your sump pump. As one of our winter plumbing tips, we recommend doing it even more often in the winter.

11. Going out of town? Shut off the main water valve.

Just like other times of the year if you go on a long vacation, find and turn off the main water valve before you leave. This will prevent leaks and flooding from frozen or damaged pipes and water heaters. That way, you won’t come home to a flood and moldy carpet and wet floors.

12. An the last of our winter plumbing tips … Plumbing problems happen with cold weather, so keep our number handy!

All the winter plumbing tips listed above will help you avoid most plumbing crises. But cold weather can still cause all sorts of unexpected problems. When this happens, give One Stop Plumbing a call! We want your home to be a safe, warm place this winter, and we’re here to help. Drip. Drip. Drop. Call One Stop Plumbing. (757) 321-8874

One Stop Plumbing

Many of the tips from our blog on Fall Plumbing Tips can also apply to the winter months. This includes water heater maintenance, disconnecting outside hoses, and covering spigot hose bibs.

However, when a plumbing problem does happen, we are one phone call away. At One Stop Plumbing, we are repair specialists. If it can’t be fixed, we can replace it. Since 2015, we’ve been serving Hampton Roads residents, property managers, and businesses, and we are fully licensed, bonded, and insured. Our owner Nevie Sessoms is a Master Plumber licensed by the Virginia Department of Professional Occupation and Regulation (DPOR) and a Master Gas Fitter.

Our Winter Plumbing tips are helpful in order to avoid plumbing problems, but if you see or hear a Drip. Drip. Drop. Call One Stop! (757) 321-8874!
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