Your plumbing system is an essential part of your home. Of course, if you’re being honest then it’s also a part that is often overlooked. After all, you turn on the tap and water comes out. This is something that you take for granted despite the fact that nearly a billion people don’t have access to a water supply!
However, your plumbing system is also surprisingly fragile. It’s made of copper and plastic pipes with water flowing through them under high pressure. This creates the perfect ingredients for corrosion and the constantly changing pressures inside the pipes place a strain on the joints, potentially causing leaks.
Cold weather brings additional issues, such as freezing pipes. These place additional strain on the pipes and can cause them to crack in the cold. Cracked pipes are a big issue when the water defrosts as it will suddenly start to flow directly into your home.
To make it worse, the coldest part of the day is overnight, this is when the pipes will freeze. You may not know about the issue until you find water pumping into your home and need to make an insurance claim.
The good news is there are 5 simple things you can do today to winterize your plumbing system and reduce the likelihood of issues.
1. Get A Professional Inspection
You should contact a local reputable plumber in Sydney such as ontimelocalplumber.com.au and get your plumbing system inspected. They will look for corrosion in your joints and pipes, signs that leaks are about to occur, or even a sign that a leak is already present.
You should have all your plumbing and associated appliances checked at least once a year. The process is painless and gives you peace of mind.
While no plumber can guarantee you won’t have an issue. Having a trained eye look at your systems means it’s much less likely.
2. Fix Your Leaks
You may already be aware of a slight leak and perhaps be intending to fix it. Of course, it’s one of those small jobs that sits on the back burner and will, eventually, be done. Leaks are usually easy to detect by checking the exposed pipework.
However, some leaks may occur in pipes that are hidden inside the walls. These are more difficult to spot. The telltale sign is usually damp patches on the walls or ceiling and perhaps mold growing.
You’ll want to eliminate these leaks quickly. They won’t just damage the house, they also represent a weak spot in the pipe. If the temperature drops low enough that the pipes freeze, the leak will quickly become worse.
There are two types of insulation. The first is the insulation that goes in your loft and walls, helping to keep heat in your home, making it comfortable, and saving you money on energy bills. The other type of insulation is the thin tubes of foam that wrap around your exposed pipes. These can help to prevent your pipes from freezing in the winter and causing you issues.
Pipe insulation is cheap and easy to add to your existing pipes. Simply purchase as much insulation as you need and wrap it around all your pipes before the winter arrives.
If you’re not sure how much difference this will make, consider the difference to your body temperature when you wrap a blanket around yourself. It’s the same principle.
4. Warm Your Home
One way to prevent your pipes from freezing and causing you issues is to make sure your house stays warm. This will help to prevent the pipes in your home from freezing. Of course, it won’t make any difference to exposed pipes outside of your home. These must be insulated and protected as much as possible.
To ensure your house stays as warm as possible you should take a look at its energy efficiency and see how you can improve it. This will help to maintain heat in your home without costing you a fortune.
5. Dripping Faucet
If the water in your pipes is likely to freeze then you’ll want to take steps to prevent this, if possible. The simplest approach is to leave your tap dripping very slightly overnight. The dripping means that the water in the pipes is moving and this makes it harder for it to freeze.
Of course, a dripping tap will mean that you’re using more water than usual but this is less of a hassle than dealing with frozen pipes and being unable to wash or make your morning coffee.
Locate Your Water Main
To ensure you are fully prepared for any water-related disaster, whether in the winter or the summer, you should check where your water main is today.
This will allow you to turn the water off to your home as soon as you realize you have an issue. The best way of preventing or reducing the damage caused by water flooding your home is to stop it from coming into your home in the first place.
In most cases, the water main valve is just outside your home but you can check with your plumber if you can’t find it.
Protecting and winterizing your plumbing system is more than just preventing a leak that could cause serious damage to your home. It’s about taking care of the systems within your home and being as prepared as possible for any eventuality.
This will help you to deal with any disaster that happens and can save you money. It’s surprising how many homes have small water leaks that are either undetected or ignored. These can increase your risk of winter issues and your annual water bill.
Don’t forget, some plumbing leaks can be hard to find. It’s a good idea to switch off all your appliances and take a water meter reading. Take another one an hour later when you haven’t used any water and you’ll be able to see if the meter reading has changed.
If it has, you have a leak and you’re going to need to find it.