The onset of winter weather invites a multitude of potential plumbing problems in our homes. Sub-zero temperatures can lead to cracked pipes, broken radiators, flooding and leaks. However, before disaster strikes in the dead of winter, take the following preventative measures because they will lessen the chance of having winter plumbing problems.
First of all, you should clean the drains in your sinks and bathtub. This can be done by mixing one cup of salt, one cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of cream of tartar. Pour this mixture into your drains and then follow with two cups of boiling water.
You also should insulate your pipes to prevent freezing. Hardware stores sell pipe insulation sleeves that can be used to cover exposed pipes in your basement and little used areas of the house to ensure that frost and ice does not develop which could cause pipes to split.
On the outside of your home, close the shut-off value on the pipes leading to outdoor spigots. Detach your garden hose and put it away for the winter. Leaving water in garden hoses could form pressure on the water lines leading to the inside of your home. Once this happens a water line break is very possible and this very well may lead to extensive damage to your home.
If pipes in your home do freeze up, turn off the water at the shut-off value. Open cabinet doors under the faucets so that they can receive more warmth. Move space heaters into place to assist the melting. If your pipes burst or crack, turn off the main water valve and open the faucets to relieve pressure. Use a blow drier or space heater to thaw pipes before replacing.
Holiday celebrations most often include many guests in the home with busy kitchens and bathrooms. Grease from food can clog kitchen drains and hair can fill shower drains. Clogged pipes can overload your home’s plumbing which could lead to a plumbing disaster so avoid pouring fats down the drains in the kitchen. In the bathroom, use an inexpensive, plastic drain shield that stops hair from entering the pipes. Put a trash can in the bathroom so that the toilet is not used as a garbage bin. Hair, cotton balls, sanitary pads and tampons should not be flushed down toilets, so consider reminding guests to use the garbage pail by placing a small note in the bathroom.