Frozen pipes are the largest concern amongst homeowners during cold weather. However, the winter season brings about a few other dangers to your home’s plumbing system. Extra cooking can stress your kitchen system while holiday house guests can strain your bathroom’s plumbing. It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but an emergency visit from a plumber can ruin even the jolliest of spirits. Luckily, with a little foresight, you can prevent many of these disasters before they become expensive. Here’s some winter plumbing tips to get you through the holiday season with your pipes (and some of your sanity) intact.
From hearty main courses to sweet treats, food makes up a large portion of every family festivity. However, if one is careless in the kitchen, these meals can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing system. For starters, avoid pouring grease, fats, or cooking oils down your drain. They can solidify and clog your pipes. Instead, these should be thrown in the trash. Wipe them up with paper towels or scraped in once they harden in the pot itself. When utilizing the garbage disposal, turn it on first before adding debris to prevent clogs. Also, never place stringy waste in the disposal such as poultry skins, fruit and potato peels, or celery. Once finished with the disposal, run cold water through it for at least 15 seconds to flush the line. Finally, to preserve the home’s water temperature and pressure, only use the dishwasher at off times or at night.
With a month full of houseguests and holiday parties, your home’s shower and toilet systems will certainly be put to the test this time of year. When guests are staying over, plan ahead and schedule showers throughout the day. Keep at least 10 minute breaks between showers, for the best results. Make sure trash cans are readily available to prevent these same guests from using the toilet as a garbage bin. Finally, check the speed of your drains well before parties are to start or guests are to arrive. Checking them early can provide you with more time to deal with any issues you may find and can avoid emergency service at the last minute.
Your water heater is going to be put to the test even without extra guests simply because of the colder weather. For this reason, you may want to increase its capacity during this season, but don’t exceed 125 degrees to avoid scalding. Much like your drains, you may want to inspect your heater well before it’s usage increases – a professional plumber can take a look and perform any maintenance required to keep it functional.