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Has your plumber been out to see you lately? Don’t let the continuing beautiful San Antonio, TX, weather fool you. We’re fully immersed in the fall season and winter’s on the way. And although you’re enjoying the sunshine and slightly milder temps now, the truth is that fall is in full swing and if you haven’t called on your plumber to perform a fall checkup on your plumbing system, the time is well at hand. Some preventative maintenance can ensure that your plumbing is up to par with the changing of the seasons so that you’re not caught off guard by the need for plumbing repairs. Let’s run down a few things to think about on your end to get your plumbing ready for whatever Mother Nature brings your way.
Avoiding Frozen Pipes
Fall is the gateway to winter. Living in San Antonio, TX, you know that we don’t have a lot of truly cold weather. But just because we don’t often see the mercury plummet below freezing it doesn’t mean we should become falsely confident that we’ll never experience the horror and expense of frozen pipes. Our area gets an average of 16 days of freezing weather each year, with an average of one day per year at 20 degrees F or below, according to the NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Anytime temperatures fall to 32 degrees F or lower, water can and does freeze.
Yes, when the temperature falls below the freezing point, the water pipes in your home can wreak major (expensive) damage if they burst. It’s a recipe for disaster. Cold water in your pipes turns to ice, the ice expands, and the pipes crack open. That’s simple science. For this reason, it’s always important when doing fall plumbing maintenance to make sure that your pipes are ready for cold weather and freezing temps.
- Start outside. Most homeowners are fairly diligent about preventing freezing pipes indoors, but many neglect outdoor plumbing. Be sure that you turn off all outdoor water valves and spigots prior to the first bout of cold weather. You should also look for any pipes that lack insulation that run around the outside of your home’s walls. It is these types of pipes that have the biggest potential of freezing, so be sure that you wrap them in thick foam or otherwise cover them before winter weather hits.
- Check the basement. There’s generally a massive amount of pipework in the average basement, but many homeowners leave their basements unheated because they don’t use them as a living space. If this describes your situation, it’s important to get those pipes wrapped in foam or even using a heating tape on them to help prevent freezing.
- Be alert for frozen pipes. If you suddenly experience a lack of water in any part of the home, you may have a frozen pipe or pipes on your hands. Depending on where the frozen section of pipe is located, you may still have water in some rooms. Your best course of action if you realize that your water pipes are frozen is to call out a plumber to remedy the situation. You can do a lot of damage to your pipes trying to fix a break yourself, making things worse and ending up costing yourself more money in the long run. Your plumber may need to not only thaw out your frozen pipes but also replace any burst pipes so that water is not spilling out into your home, basement or other area once the water is moving again.
- Be aware of your main water valve’s location. If you do experience a burst pipe or other major incident with your plumbing, you need to shut off your main water valve immediately, so make sure to educate yourself and others on its location. Typically, you can find the valve next to your water meter.
Winter Maintenance for Your Water Heater
If you enjoy a nice hot bath after a cold day outdoors, you’ll really appreciate having a water heater that you can depend on all winter long. Now is the time to be sure that your water heater is operating like it should by giving your plumber a call for maintenance and inspection. Your plumber can check the anode rod in your tank, look for corrosion and wear, and repair or replace components at necessary. Your plumber may also drain your water heater’s tank to remove any built-up sediment that can lead to corrosion, leaks, and eventual unit failure. Don’t wait until your water heater fails to call for service. By getting annual maintenance, you can stave off problems and add to the longer service life of your unit.
Get Your Disposal and Drains Ready for Holiday Entertaining
If you’re like most folks, your kitchen is busier in the fall and winter than any other time of year. More baking and cooking means more cooking-related messes for your disposal and drains to deal with. Clean your disposal and drains regularly, and avoid adding bones and other hard foods to your disposal, as these can lead to clogs. Have any slow drains looked at by your plumber before they become a bigger issue that can cause problems at a less opportune time.
When it comes to fall/winter maintenance for your plumbing system, the key takeaway is this: fix problems now. Whether you have a small leak or a toilet that won’t stop running, nipping the issue in the bud now can limit the damage that it causes your home.
Reach out to the dedicated and professional team of plumbers at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio, TX, to get your plumbing winter-ready and fix any problems you’re experiencing with your plumbing system in one fell swoop.