Some homeowners assume that they do not have to change their plumbing habits at all to accommodate for the change in seasons. Yet as we have discussed on this blog before, this simply isn’t the case. Even if you do not live in a part of the country that experiences temperatures below zero, your pipes can still freeze, and your water heater can still malfunction. Keep reading for our top plumbing maintenance tips for winter, courtesy of our experts at Carter Quality Plumbing.
Easy Ways to Winterize Your Plumbing System:
- Clear Your Property for Better Drainage: You may not be expecting snow this winter season, but that does not mean you won’t have to deal with increased precipitation. To make sure that your yard does not become flooded, clean out your gutters and downspouts, so leaves and debris clogs don’t occur and your property experiences proper drainage.
- Adjust Your Water Heater for Colder Temperatures: If you have a traditional water heater, you should flush any sediment out of the tank at the beginning of winter, and consider replacing your anode rod, as this will help fight the effects of hard water and bacteria. And whether you have a traditional or a tankless system, you should adjust temperature settings so that they do not exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will not only prevent scalding but ensure there is no undue strain put on your system.
- Watch What You Are Putting Down Your Garbage Disposal: You are likely to do a lot of cooking between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which can be pretty hard on your garbage disposal. To avoid having to replace your impeller blade or your entire unit before its time, never put grease and fats, heavy starches, fibrous vegetables, skins and rinds, nuts and seeds, coffee grounds and eggshells, and bones of any shape and size in your garbage disposal. As a good rule of thumb, if you are dealing with anything other than light food scraps, you should put it in the trash can.
- Locate Your Main Water Valve: Your main water shut-off valve will prevent flooding if any pipes burst or other major plumbing malfunctions occur on your property. It’s important to know where this component is, and luckily, you can usually find it by your water meter, which will either be in your basement or outside on the wall closest to the street. It’s also a good idea to open and close your main water valve a few times a year, just to make sure it’s functional.
- Protect Pipes Wherever Possible: Even if you live in a warmer part of the country, where your pipes are unlikely to freeze, you should still cover your exterior hose bibs, emptying faucets and storing your hoses appropriately. You may also want to insulate any exposed pipes to prevent colder temperatures from affecting them. And while you may be lowering your thermostat to offset heating costs and save on utility bills this winter, never let your house’s temperature dip below 45 degrees, as this is extremely bad for your pipes.