Fall/Winter Plumbing Tips

During the winter, plumbers are often kept busy by the many people who didn't protect their plumbing from the elements. To minimize your potential winter plumbing woes, take a few precautions before cold temperatures hit.

Drain All Exposed Outdoor Pipes
Most outdoor faucets consist of the faucet valve, the copper pipe leading into the house and a "stop and waste" valve inside the home. To drain your outdoor faucet , close the stop and waste valve and open the petcock (the small cap or screw on the side of the valve). Open the outside valve to allow the water to drain. Make sure to leave the outside valve open the entire season.

Protecting Indoor Pipes
Wrap your pipes with insulation designed for plumbing widely available in hardware stores. One of the easiest kinds to use consists of foam sleeves that are slit lengthwise to slip over the pipes.
After insulating your pipes, secure the connections with duct tape. In many situations , insulation will be all you need to protect your pipes. Keep in mind: these wrappings don't generate heat, they just keep it in.
In general, pipes that are behind walls need no additional protection because the insulation in the wall prevents them from freezing.

Thawing Frozen Pipes
If you've got frozen pipes, you might want to call a professional plumber to fix them. Pipes sometimes burst when they freeze, but the ice works as a plug to prevent them from leaking. However, when the ice thaws, you could have a major leak on your hands.


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