9 Tips to Protect Your Home from Freezing Temperatures
Winterizing your home in Boise, Idaho
Just like any appliance in your home, your plumbing system suffers wear and tear over time.Although the pipes and drains of a plumbing system are designed for durability, they still require regular care to keep them from aging too rapidly and needing numerous repairs and replacements.
Qualified plumbers can help you keep your plumbing in the best shape possible through regular maintenance visits. Even if you have a recently installed plumbing system with corrosion-resistant copper and PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) or CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) piping, you should schedule maintenance once a year.
Why should you schedule annual maintenance?Plumbing maintenance encompasses more than checking to see if your pipes have leaks or are suffering from corrosion. Maintenance also includes the major appliances you use on a daily basis, which can undergo significant stress during a year.
For example, your water heater is part of regular plumbing maintenance, and water heaters must have yearly inspections and tune-ups to make sure they work efficiently and correctly. You’ll need a new water heater long before you need new pipes, and maintenance technicians will be able to identify when it’s time to retire your current water heater.
Another reason for having plumbing maintenance done annually is that the consequences of failures in the water line or the sewer line can be immense. These are problems you want to avoid if at all possible, since they can cause damage to your home and the repair work is often extensive.
Regular maintenance will catch small problems with either the water line or the sewer line on your property before they become large problems.
You can also purchase a water alarm and simply place the alarm next to a potential leak source. The alarm will give off a high-pitched sound when it comes into contact with water, much like a smoke detector when there is a fire.
What will your plumber check?
A qualified plumbing contractor will check your water heater, faucets, supply line,shut-off valves, toilets, drains, and appliances such as washing machines and sump pumps. They will search for corrosion, leaks and blockages at every point.
At the end of a maintenance visit, your plumber should provide you with a list of suggestions for repairs or advice that will help you continue to keep your home safe from water and sewer damage.
Routine maintenance will help you and your plumber build a relationship so you will both be prepared in the event of an emergency.
If you have an older home, you should make sure that spigots and pipes in insulated walls are ready for freezing weather.
If your house will be empty over part or all of the winter, winterizing your home will ensure you do not end up with a lot of water damage by spring.
However, for all homeowners this is also a good time to flush the water heater and to make sure it is in good working order for the winter.
This is also a great time for you to convert your traditional fireplace with a gas insert that will help keep you comfortable this winter.
On cool nights fireplaces can create drafts in you home, even with the damper closed. Boise Valley Plumbing can convert your traditional fireplace with a gas insert that will help keep you comfortable this winter. Winterization means to prepare your house for the winter.
The list of procedures for winterizing your home depends on whether or not the house will be vacant. Many homes are empty over the winter, which is a problem in states that dip below freezing on a consistent basis. Some are new construction up for sale. Other homes belong to "snow birds" weathering in warmer states. Whatever the reason, an empty house in cold weather areas needs special attention.
No two plumbing systems look the same. Even two identical water heaters can be installed differently because of different house layouts.
This is one time hiring a plumber could save you both time and money. If the steps aren't followed correctly, when the systems have to be restored they could be damaged from the cold, or from improper winterizing.
Steps to winterizing a vacant home:
1. Drain the toilets. First, off the water source at the base of the toilet and flushing until only a small amount of water remains in the trap in the bottom of the bowl. The tank should be empty. Put clear plastic wrap across the bowl to make sure the water does not evaporate from the trap.
2. Drain the hot water heater. Turn off the power or gas source to the hot water heater before beginning. Then, turn off the cold water supply valve that allows the cold water to enter the heater. Hook a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the hot water heater. Put the other end of the hose outside where the water can run freely without causing damage. When finished, close the drain valve. This is a good opportunity to flush the hot water heater to ensure peak efficiency when it is fired back up. Be careful to use a hose than can take hot water. Also, use proper precautions to protect yourself.
3. Drain the expansion tank, if you have a boiler. Before beginning, turn off the valve that auto-fills your system with cold water. There may be a valve on the top of your boiler that you can open to allow the water to flow faster. Open a drain valve and drain until it is almost empty. Close the drain valve.
4. Using an air compressor, blow the the excess water from the water supply lines using the faucets.
5. Drain whole house water filtration systems.
6. Drain any small water lines, such as those that go to an ice maker or water dispenser on the refrigerator.
7. Add antifreeze to the water left in the water mains, toilet trap, dishwasher trap and anywhere there will be residual water to prevent sewage from coming into your home.
8. Siphon the water out of your wash machine.
9. Make sure all hoses are removed from outside spigots.
10. Blow all the water from your underground sprinklers
If your home will not be vacant this winter, the winterization steps are much smaller, but no less important.
1. Insulate all exposed pipes, such as pipes in attics, crawl spaces, basements, porches, etc. This will prevent frozen pipes. The insulation on the hot water pipes will also save money.
2. Remove all hose from spigots connected to the house. Those spigots are connected to household pipes, so if they burst the water will leak into the house under flooring and through the walls.
3. Fall is the perfect time to have a plumber flush your hot water heater and check all the plumbing. No one likes to run out of hot water, but a broken hot water heater during the winter is particularly distressing. Boise Valley Plumbing strives to have low rates and courteous prompt service. We know that any disruption and unexpected expense is very stressful.