When you’re experiencing the perfect summer day in Maine, winter is probably the furthest thing from your mind. It can be tempting to just relax in a hammock, enjoy a bowl of ice cream and daydream. Unfortunately, winter is never too far away in New England, and before you know it, it will be time once again to fire up the snowblower or dust off your trusty snow shovel.
A burst pipe due to the cold is one of the biggest threats your home faces during the long, cold winter months. Here are some steps you can take now to protect your pipes and plumbing system.
Disconnect Outdoor Hoses
Now that you’re done watering your lawn or re-filling the kiddie pool for the season, it’s time to disconnect and drain any outdoor hoses. If not, should a sudden frost strike it could freeze the hose and faucet, potentially causing any water trapped inside the hose to expand and back up into your home’s plumbing. If this happens, it could cause the interior pipes to expand – and potentially explode!
Clean Your Hot Water Heater
One of the last things you want to experience is a broken water heater in your home. A cold shower when it’s below zero outside? No thanks! That’s why now is the time to have a professional inspect your water heater for any sediment that may have built up. If you live in an area with hard water, you are particularly vulnerable to this issue. Sediment buildup can cause your hot water heater to work less efficiently and can also potentially lead to a leak. In addition to checking for leaks, a plumbing professional can also inspect water connections and the temperature pressure relief valve and look for any telltale rust stains that could indicate you may need a buy a new water heater.
Inspect your pipes for signs of any leaks, or wear and tear that could potentially lead to a leak in the near future. If you spot any leaks, it’s important to get them professionally repaired now, before the cold weather can turn a minor leak into a major flood in your home should a pipe burst.
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for the cold that winter brings is protecting your pipes. Wrap exposed pipes in foam insulation to keep them safe from the cold year-round. Another added bonus – insulating your pipes can also help you save money on hot water, since the water will no longer be traveling through cold pipes. If in doubt, hire a plumbing professional to inspect your pipes and determine which ones might be most vulnerable to freezing, such as pipes that are located in a less-insulated part of your home.
With some careful planning and preparation, you can get your home’s plumbing in tip-top shape before winter begins, freeing up more time to start planning how you’ll spend the upcoming summer.