How to Prepare Your Home for Colder Weather

water damage from plumbing

How do you maintain plumbing?

If you haven’t already, you need to get your winter plumbing maintenance done now! In many parts of this country, the first snow has fallen, and it is only a matter to time before those cold, frigid temperatures make it to Georgia.

When it comes to home ownership, Cold weather plumbing maintenance is essential and important. In this piece today, we’re going to answer questions and talk about home plumbing maintenance, by the homeowner and when you need professional plumbing maintenance services.

Your home’s plumbing system will benefit from the following preventative Home plumbing maintenance checklist we have created. Because basic home plumbing maintaining, a little bit of effort can go a long way in preventing costly plumbing repairs:

  • Clean the toilet regularly – this is more than the sanitary cleaning you already do. We mean a thorough cleaning around the jets to prevent buildup using a toilet brush. This will keep your toilet flushing at full power. Flush only body waste business and toilet paper down the toilet.
  • A good plunger – investing in a good plunger and knowing how and when to use it is important. When there has been a flush-gone-wrong and water begins backing up, a good plunger and know-how can be what keeps you from having a major catastrophe. A funnel-cup plunger is the better type for toilets and let it sit under hot running water before you attempt using it to soften the rubber.  
  • No chemical drain cleaner product – while these tout themselves as being the best at clearing clogs, they also damage pipes, and they don’t do a good a job a clearing clogs either. When you have a drain problem, and the plunger or plumber’s snake doesn’t clear the clog, call a professional plumber.
  • Garbage disposal and cold water – it is tempting to keep the hot water running as you use the garbage disposal,  but cold water is better on this appliance. The blades stay sharper longer when you use cold water, getting the most efficiency from your unit. Like the toilet, be careful what is put into the drain for the garbage disposal. Sharp, stringy, tough, not food times are not meant for garbage disposals.
  • Winter Preparation – part of your homeowner plumbing maintenance duties is making sure the pipes are wrapped with insulation.  When the temperature is below freezing for several days, keep the faucets trickling so they don’t freeze up.
  • The washing machine water supply hose – a washing machine hose that is less than 1” side will dispense approximately 650 gallons of water per hour. This takes a toll on the hose and it will wear out. , it can only last so long. Part of your home Plumbing maintenance and repairs is keeping an eye on the washing machine water supply hose. When you see a bubble forming, it is time to replace the hose before it burst. It is the simple things like this that by knowing how to do plumbing maintenance around the house that will save you a lot of money and aggravation.        

What are the most common plumbing problems?

When plumbing maintenance isn’t performed, plumbing issues are the results with the problem reaching a breaking point. Instead of making an emergency phone call to a plumber, the following tips may help you do your own repair:

  • Faucet Issues: Dripping water is more than an annoyance; it is an indication that you are wasting as much as 2,600 gallons of water in 12 months, not to mention what it is doing to your water bill. Try these repair steps and see if that fixes it before you call a plumber: The O-ring – inexpensive and fast fix, replacing the rubber O-ring on the faucet. The Cartridge – also known as the aerator, this is the mesh-like filter in the spigot end. It will clog from the mineral deposits in the water and cut back the water pressure. Part of your home plumbing maintenance program should be changing or cleaning this mesh-like filter on a monthly basis. Valve Seat or Washer – the valve seat and wash are located between the faucet and the spout and are what holds it all together. When this connection wears out or loosens, the spout will leak. Replace this washer and add to your monthly plumbing maintenance, cleaning this area of the faucet.
  • Pipes Leaking: Plumbing is mostly pipes, and in older homes, copper pipes are common. While copper pipes are the stronger pipe used, it doesn’t do well when the temperatures go from cold to hot and back to cold. Copper pipes are also known to corrode and require a lot of plumbing maintenance. If possible, replumbing your house in PEX is recommended. In the meantime, insulate your plumbing before winter.
  • Toilet Issues: A leaking toilet isn’t always noticed until it is too late. If you notice your toilet is running after a flush, replace the rubber flapper inside the tank. At the same time, replace the chain that holds the flapper. For under $20, this is a simple plumbing maintenance trick that doesn’t require an expensive plumber service call.
  • Hose Bib Worn Out: The average hose bibb should be replaced once a year. They crack and lose their integrity during cold weather. When the simple plumbing maintenance doesn’t include replacing the bib, it can crack and end up wasting 100s of gallons of water in a month.
  • Clogs: A clogged drain is a major source of frustration for any homeowner. Clogged toilets we already addressed but a clogged bathroom or kitchen sinks and drain is a different matter. Do not use those over-the-counter chemical drain cleaners! Remember, they damage pipes. Instead, use some home remedies first and if all this fails, you’ll need to call a plumber.

How often should you clean your plumbing pipes?

A monthly routine for plumbing maintenance should include cleaning the pipes and drains is sufficient to maintain healthy plumbing. This can save you costly plumbing bills and a lot of aggravation.

How do I know if my plumbing is leaking?

Some common signs that you may have a plumbing leak could be obvious. Check around appliances, faucets, showers, sinks, toilets, and valves. Other signs of a plumbing leak are:

  • Water Bill Increase: The water bill increase in the summer is normal, but during the winter, it could indicate you have a leak.  
  • Meter Keeps Running: When the water meter continuously keeps running after you have turned everything off, you definitely have a water leak.
  • Mildew and Mold: If you are constantly finding mildew or mold in the bathroom or kitchen, even after cleaning it daily, you may have a water leak in the walls or under the flooring.  
  • A Musty Smell: Standing water and moist surfaces will have a musty smell. After cleaning the bathroom or kitchen, if you’re still smelling musty odor, there is a hidden plumbing leak somewhere.
burst pipe

How do you stop plumbing problems?

Basic knowledge and steps with plumbing maintenance and smarts will minimize, even stop plumbing problems. Suggestions are:

  1. Clean your drains and pipes once a month.
  2. If a problem keeps returning, fix it permanently.
  3. Keep large debris from entering the drains and pipes.
  4. Clean and flush the drains and garbage disposal regularly.
  5. Do not pour grease down the kitchen drain.
  6. Do not put non-human waste in the toilet.

Need help with your home plumbing in Marietta, GA? Call (770) 672-0095 today.