Although temperatures have remained fairly warm thus far locally, December is likely to mark the beginning of colder weather. As homeowners prepare for the change in temperature, plumbing should be at the top of their readiness list.
Before freezing temperatures set in, co-owner and master plumber for C&S Plumbing explained there are a few things homeowners can do to prepare their home.
“If there are any drippy hydrants make sure they are repaired,” Crouse said. “Make sure all pipes are insulated. On older homes, you want to make sure the skirting around the bottom of the house is complete and sealed. Also, make sure the vents in the skirting are covered to create a barrier.”
Crouse recommends using any kind of plastic sheeting to staple to the vents and create a seal that will help lock in the heat. He explained the vents are intended to provide airflow during the summer months but should be sealed during winter months to help contain the heat and keep pipes at a good temperature.
Owner of local plumbing company Texoma Services, Aden Edwards explained once the freezing temperatures arrive a few simple things can help keep your plumbing safe.
“A couple of things they can do and it’s very simple is disconnect the garden hose,” Edwards said. “A garden hose will freeze faster than your plumbing and that frozen water will go straight up into your plumbing. The little Styrofoam cover for the outside of your home makes all the difference in the world. They will help to keep it from freezing. Also, leave the cabinet doors open during freezing nights to help the heat get to that space. That will make a tremendous difference.”
Edwards explained if homeowners may be able to realize their pipes are beginning to freeze if water is slow to come out when a faucet is turned on.
“The best thing to do when that happens is leave the faucet on,” Edwards said. “That way, as it starts to melt, the water will come out of the faucet and it will lessen the effect on the pipes. If it’s coming out slowly by running it, it will thaw itself out. … You can use space heaters in rooms that don’t have enough heat but make sure to put them on a surge protector to prevent an electrical short.”
Crouse went on to say if you are going to go away for holidays or if you have a weekend home, it is important to drain and winterize the property.
“That way if the electric goes off and the temperatures are below freezing your pipes won’t burst,” Crouse said. “We drain the entire house. We use air to push any remaining water out so the pipes are empty. We pour a liquid down every single drain that’s good to 20 below zero.”
Edwards said general maintenance throughout the year can help prevent problems during temperature intensive months. For those that are particularly in need of a hot shower during the winter, Edwards explained it is important to pay attention to your water heater.
“For general maintenance as far as the plumbing goes, having it flushed and drained on a yearly basis will extend the life expectancy of your water heater,” Edwards said. “For example, in Pottsboro they have very dirty water and it may need to be done twice a year. This prevents things from building up inside. A lot of people don’t realize that tankless water heaters are supposed to be serviced annually also.”
Edwards went on to say there is extra maintenance that should be observed for homeowners with a septic system.
“It is important to make sure the bacteria levels are optimal to make sure they operate year round,” Edwards said. “People use antibacterial soaps an all of those things to kill bacteria. But bacteria is what makes our septic systems operate. The bacteria actually eats the solids and liquefies them and when you kill that bacteria there is nothing left to dissolve them.”