Cold-weather breaks can cause pipes to burst in your own household or business plumbing. Here are some tips to avoid costly damage.
Before the Cold Weather Hits
- Know the location of your water shut-off valve switch and test it regularly.
- Turn off and drain automatic and manual sprinkler systems before first freeze.
- Turn off outdoor faucets and be sure to disconnect hoses from them.
- Winterize unheated or vacant buildings.
- Insulate water pipes that may be vulnerable to the cold or have caused problems before.
During a Deep Freeze (-5 Degrees and Below)
- Keep open cabinet doors leading to exposed pipes (such as access doors for sinks), so that household air can warm them.
- If you have an attached garage, keep its doors shut.
- Crack a very slow drip from a faucet furthest from the place where your water enters the house.
- Keep your thermostat set above 65 degrees when leaving your house or business for several days.
If You Think a Pipe Has Already Frozen
- Thaw the pipe as soon as possible or call a plumber for help.
- If you do it yourself, shut off the water or test the shut-off valve. You do not want water suddenly gushing from the pipe when it thaws.
- Remember: When thawing pipes, slower is better.
- A hair dryer at the frozen area of the pipe is appropriate. A blow torch is not. Pipes warmed too fast may break anyway.
Frozen Water Pipes
With freezing temperatures there is a good chance that unprotected water pipes will freeze. When this happens, you may experience only the annoyance of interrupted water service until the water in the pipes thaws. Unfortunately, for a few, the water line may rupture and cause property damage and require plumbing repairs.
There are several preventive measures that can reduce your chances of having your water lines freeze.
- Shut off the outside water valve, disconnect water hoses and drain water from pipes, via an open faucet.
- Allow a trickle of hot and cold water to drip. The cost of the wasted water is small compared to the damage from frozen pipes. CAUTION: Be certain you are not running water into a drain line that is exposed to extreme cold, as that line might freeze as well.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under sinks to allow heat from the room to circulate around un-insulated pipes.
- Heat unused rooms with plumbing, especially if the plumbing is in a north wall.
- Insulate all pipes in areas where there is no heat, such as the garage or crawl space.
- Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed to the weather and prone to freeze. You can purchase a variety of insulating and heating devices to install on both inside and outside plumbing.
- Seal any air leaks around doors and windows to reduce cold air penetration.
If frozen pipes do occur, Total Plumbing, Inc. can thaw those pipes. We don’t use torches for thawing, so there is no risk of fire from an open flame. We thaw the pipes safely, using electric thawing machines so that there is no damage to the wall or ceiling from an open flame.
We can also repair any broken lines due to freezing.
To maintain your disposal:
- Put ice cubes in the disposal to sharpen the blades between uses.
- Grind up citrus fruits in the disposal for a fresh citrus smell.
- Use a specially designed disposal brush to remove hard to reach deposits that cause odors and food build-up.
Sewer Gas Smell
Occasionally a homeowner will notice a bad smell coming from the vicinity of plumbing fixtures in the home. This may be caused by “dry trap.” If a fixture such as a shower or bathtub has not been used in a long time, the trap may dry out and thus allow sewer gas to come back into the home. The solution is to run water into the fixture and allow the trap to again fill up with water. If this does not solve the problem, it is time to call a professional from Total Plumbing, Inc. to check it out and make a repair.
Cold weather plumbing tips were provided by Total Plumbing, Inc.
Call (303) 393-7271 and ask for Pre-Construction