Plumbing Tips for Winter: Expert Tips To Help Homeowners Through the Colder Months

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Winter is coming, extending an icy grip on the plumbing systems in our homes. The chilly air and the potential for freezing temperatures can exacerbate existing plumbing issues or introduce new ones.  However, with a few precautionary steps and insider plumbing tips for winter, you’ll be ready to tackle the worst the season can deliver.

In this post, the Bob Oates team will detail common winter plumbing problems and provide expert solutions to ensure you and your plumbing system sail smoothly through winter.

Top Winter Plumbing Problems

As we brace ourselves for the cold, it’s crucial to be aware of the most common plumbing issues that homeowners face. Being proactive in addressing these can save time, money, and the discomfort of a cold home.

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are a prevalent winter issue. When water freezes inside the pipes, it expands, leading to cracks or bursts. That can lead to significant water damage and costly repairs. However, homeowners can prevent these freezing issues and maintain their plumbing system’s health by insulating pipes and ensuring a consistent water flow. In our experience, the techs at Bob Oates have found that hose bibbs and pipes located inside uninsulated walls on the north side of a home are more likely to freeze.

Clogged Kitchen Drains

The holidays often mean more cooking, which can lead to grease and food particles going down the kitchen drain. Over time, this can lead to stubborn clogs, making it challenging to use your sink efficiently. Using natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar periodically can keep drains clear and running smoothly, saving on potential professional unclogging costs.

This is also the busiest time of year for drain and sewer backups. Remember disposals are not to be used for the preparation of foods; those scraps should go into the compost. You will have less backups when you only scrape cooked food scraps down the disposal. Don’t forget to run water before, during and after using the disposal.

Water Heater Troubles

In colder months, water heaters work overtime. Sediment can build up at the bottom of the heater, causing it to work harder and less efficiently or even break down entirely. Regularly draining and inspecting your water heater can enhance its lifespan and provide consistent hot water throughout the chilly season. The pros at Bob Oates can also remove buildup in tankless water heaters, which require decalcifying every year or so.

Sump Pump Freezing

Sump pumps in basements guard against floods. Yet, their discharge lines can freeze in winter, especially if not positioned right, pitched correctly, or if there’s a blockage. When the pipe freezes, the sump pump can overwork and eventually fail, making the basement vulnerable to flooding. Regular inspection and ensuring the line is insulated or heated can help prevent this issue.

Expert Plumbing Tips for Winter

Cold weather brings challenges, but with some foresight and expert plumbing tips for winter, you can safeguard your home. Here are some specific recommendations from the experts at Bob Oates, your trusted plumber in Seattle, to keep your system in top shape:

Fix Plumbing Leaks

Before winter sets in, a thorough inspection of your home for potential leaks is paramount. Catching these leaks early on is essential for plumbing tips to prepare for winter, ensuring your home remains secure against escalating damage during the cold months. Being proactive is at the core of plumbing tips for winter, protecting your home’s infrastructure.

Maintain a Dripping Faucet

During the coldest days, it’s beneficial to maintain a slight drip in your faucets. This consistent water flow acts as a preventive measure, ensuring pipes remain functional and are not prone to freezing. These are common plumber tricks that homeowners can quickly implement.

Open Cabinets

On the chilliest nights, open cabinet doors, especially those under sinks. This practice allows the warmer indoor air to circulate the plumbing, significantly reducing the chances of pipe freezing. It’s one of the simple yet effective plumbing winter tips for your home.

Add Pipe Insulation

Bleeding pipes for winter is a great preemptive measure, and adding insulation to pipes, especially those in colder zones, complements it. Proper insulation is one of the often-overlooked plumbing tips for freezing weather. However, they effectively deter pipes from freezing over and ensure the overall health of your home’s plumbing system.

Disconnect Outdoor Pipes

As winter approaches, it’s vital to disconnect hoses and shut off external faucets before the season’s first frost. This action prevents water within from becoming frozen, causing potential splits in hoses or pipes. “How to drain pipes for winter“ is an often searched phrase — by performing this action, you’ll help protect your plumbing and prevent damage.

Seal Off Your Crawl Space

As well as draining house water pipes for winter,  you should seal off crawl spaces, windows, and doors to retain indoor warmth. Proper sealing efforts act as a safeguard, ensuring your pipes are well protected against the harsh cold, cementing their importance among the essential tips for winter plumbing.

Drain Water Heater

Drain your water heater once a year, as this helps remove sediment build-up, improving its efficiency and lifespan. Consulting with a professional is always recommended if you need help draining a water heater.

Know Where the Main Water Valve Is

In the event of a plumbing emergency, being familiar with the location of your home’s main water valve is crucial. Knowing its location and ability to access it swiftly can be a determining factor in preventing extensive water damage, showcasing the importance of being prepared during the colder months.

Get Your Home Ready for the Winter with Bob Oates Sewer & Rooter

When it comes to expert plumbing, sewer repair, or drain cleaning services, Bob Oates Sewer & Rooter stands out as the premier choice in Seattle and surrounding areas. With over two decades of experience, a commitment to customer satisfaction, and the expertise to tackle any plumbing issue, we are ready to ensure your home remains comfortable and problem-free this winter.

Winter may be challenging, but your plumbing is in safe hands with Bob Oates by your side. Contact us today!

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