Winter Plumbing: Preventing Problems

Winter is coming. No, we’re not referring to the terrifying White Walkers in Game of Thrones. And even though winter is still months away, it’s not too early to start thinking about prepping your winter plumbing system for the Midwestern chill.

They say a stitch in time saves nine, and the age-old wisdom also applies to plumbing maintenance. Frigid temperature can wreak havoc on your plumbing system, and the hot Chicago summer is an opportune time to begin prepping for winter problems so you won’t have to deal with them come December.

Let’s take a look at a few most common winter plumbing problems and what you should do this summer to prevent them.

Poor Heating and Hot Water Tank Failure

Nobody likes cold showers or freezing bedrooms in the winter. But months of neglect and inactivity can render these vital utilities unable to performing their heating functions.

Boilers can easily malfunction if you suddenly put too much strain on them during the cold months of the winter, especially if you haven’t used it for the rest of the year.If you’re still getting chills in your living room after hours of heating, you probably have something wrong with your boiler pressure or power source.

The same goes for hot water tanks. Your hot water source probably works overtime during the winter to provide you with that bone-thawing bath. Poor hot water supply could mean hot water tank failure due to clogged drain valves or leaking water heaters.

To prevent winter heating failures, remember to set the temperature on your water heater high enough to keep the tank warmer in the winter. If your water heater operates with a pilot light, make sure it stays lit all the time.

Frozen Pipelines and Water Line Damage

Here’s a throwback to high school science class: what happens when water freezes? Bingo — it increases in volume. Thanks to this weird trait of H20, pipelines and water lines in the winter are prone to blockage, eventually causing your plumbing system to leak or even break.

Frozen pipelines happen when high water pressure combines with freezing temperature. If you’re noticing restricted water flow, you can suspect frozen pipeline.

A common cause for leaking or broken water line is — and you might be surprised — frozen garden hoses. A connected garden hose can freeze up during winter and accumulate detrimental pressure. If you’re receiving an unusually high water bill, you might have a leaking or broken water line.

Instead of desperately calling the plumbers to come to your rescue in the middle of winter, you can prevent frozen pipelines by wrapping un-insulated pipes with foam and removing outside hoses from faucets at the end of summer.

How to Maintain Your Plumbing System in Advance this Summer

Yes, winters are bad for your plumbing system, but not all is doom and gloom. With a little help from a plumbing professional, you can prevent serious winter plumbing problems with simple maintenance and checks — all in the heat of Illinois summer.

Here are some steps you can take to prepare your plumbing system for the upcoming winter.

  • Clean your drainage systems. As water freezes and melts due to temperature fluctuation in between seasons, it’s easy for your pipes to become clogged. It’s important to clean your gutters and downspouts by removing all the leaves, grass, mud, debris and other junks to make sure your drainage works well.
  • Secure outdoor faucets and hoses. Like we mentioned above, frozen hoses and faucets are number one culprits for compromised water line systems in the freezing winter. At the end of the summer, make sure you disconnect hoses and shut off water valves for the winter.
  • Check for exposed pipes and drafts. Make sure you don’t have exposed pipelines that could come in contact with cold winter air. You don’t want them to become frozen and leak or break. Also secure drafty spots in garages or attics that could let cold air in, damaging your plumbing system.
  • Check for sewer line damage. Unnoticed and unrepaired sewer line damage can lead to severe breaks and leaks during winter as the temperature fluctuates and pressure increases. It’s also much easier to perform sewer repair and maintenance during the summer when the ground isn’t as hard.

Need Help With Your Winter Plumbing Prep? Call Flatley’s!

Protect your plumbing system while the temperature is high. Avoid paying for expensive pipe repair and replacements in the middle of the freezing winter with a simple summer tune-up by our professional plumbers.

With decades of excellent plumbing service under our belts, customer satisfaction is our #1 priority and we’re confident we can address any plumbing issues you may have.

Call Flatley's Plumbing Express today to schedule your winter plumbing prep today!

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