There’s no doubt winter takes its toll here in the Fox Cities and Green Bay area. We’ve seen wind chills ranging from -30 to -60 with blowing winds, frequent school closures, slippery roads and, of course, plenty of plumbing issues due to the cold and snow. One of the main issues we deal with throughout the winter is frozen pipes, which can cause extensive damage and be costly for homeowners. However, that’s not the only thing to worry about this winter. As the temperatures start to drop, it’s time that we all start preparing for the cold winter months — and that includes your plumbing. Here are a few things homeowners here in Wisconsin can do to prevent frozen pipes and avoid other major winter plumbing issues.
- Keep cupboard doors in your kitchen and bathroom open. This allows the warm air to better circulate around the pipes.
- Wrap uninsulated pipes with foam. Foam tubes are available at most hardware stores in the area and you can use duct tape or other adhesive to secure it around the pipes.
- Keep your thermostat set no lower than 55 degrees. We find a lot of frozen pipes occur when customers turn down their heat and go out of town for a holiday celebration or to enjoy a weekend of snowmobiling, skiing, or ice fishing up north. Frozen pipes are not worth saving a few bucks on your heating bill. Estimates show that water damage from pipes that burst can cost between $5,000-$70,000.
- Keep the garage doors closed. This is particularly important if your garage is home to water supply lines. Keeping your garage door closed as much as possible will help keep your pipes and home warmer.
- Run water frequently — Even just a trickle of water can prevent pipes from freezing when the temperatures get really low.
- Detach and put away your outdoor hoses. We see a lot of homeowners that forget to pick these up in the fall and then they get covered with snow, left outside, and cause problems with your water line.
- Avoid clogged drains and garbage disposals. Clogs and issues with the garbage disposals are incredibly common throughout the winter season due to increased holiday gatherings with so much delicious food. Using a drain cover and keeping big food scraps out of your sink can help prevent a clog. You’ll also want to avoid putting certain foods down your garbage disposal, such as bones, eggshells, fruit pits, and more.
- Inspect your water heater. The water in your water heater is extra cold during the winter, so it has to work extra hard to heat it up. The extra wear and tear can take its toll. We recommend having an expert, like the ones here at Watters Plumbing, stop by to make sure your water heater is in ship-shape before the cold weather sets in.
- Conserve hot water. Because your water heater will be working harder this time of year, do your best to go easy on it. Consider using less hot water if possible. It also helps to space out showers and running appliances like your dishwasher or washing machine to avoid running out of hot water.
- Take care of plumbing issues before it gets too cold. If your pipes are already leaking or cracked or there are already minor plumbing issues in your home, the winter months can make those problems worse. You’ll want to take care of any minor issues before the really cold temperatures start to set in. Give us a call and we can come and inspect your home for potential plumbing issues and get everything ready to go for winter.
We hope this helps you and your family prevent any major plumbing disasters this winter. Got questions or concerns? We’re always here to help. Watters plumbing has experienced, licensed plumbing professionals on call 24/7 in case of emergency. We hope you have a safe and happy winter season. Stay warm!
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