Plumbing Tips for the Fall

Winter is almost here, which means cold harsh weather and plenty of snow. Now, during the cool months of fall, is the perfect time to prepare your home for the cold of winter with a few fall plumbing tips.

Cause and Effect of Frozen Pipes

Did you know that during the winter it is possible, especially in older homes, for pipes to freeze? Freezing pipes are more common in unheated areas of the home, such as outside areas, as well as garages, basements, crawl spaces, and under cabinets. When these areas become victim to freezing and below freezing temperatures, no matter what type of plumbing you have, frozen pipes can result. If a pipe freezes it can cause unpleasant consequences, such as little to no water flow and worst case a busted pipe. Busted pipes happen because water expands when it freezes. If you are unaware of a burst pipe and continue to use your water, you could be in for quite a mess!

The following tips will help you prepare your home to prevent frozen pipes and assist you if you do experience the devastating effects of a burst pipe.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

To prevent frozen pipes in and around your home, there are several steps that you can take. On the outside of your home, do the following before freezing temperatures hit:

  • Drain your hose and unscrew it from the spigot
  • Empty your pool and any pool hoses
  • Drain your sprinkler system
  • Never use anti-freeze, unless manufacturer instructions specifically recommend it

On the inside of your home a good option is to insulate your pipes. There are insulation tapes and sleeves that you can buy to apply to any of your accessible and exposed pipes. If your pipes are not exposed and a deep freeze is expected, you can place a space heater in the area and direct it at the wall where the pipes are interiorly located. Caution: never leave the space heater unattended to prevent a possible fire. During times of extreme cold, you can also leave cabinets open, especially under the sink, to keep warm air circulating in. Leaving a small drip running in your sink is recommended as well in times of extreme cold.

It is recommended that the garage door of your home is kept closed as much as possible during frozen temperatures to keep cold air out and to insulate it as much as possible.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

If the temperature is freezing outside and you notice that your faucet is only letting out a small stream of water, the likely culprit is a frozen pipe. If you can locate the exposed pipes leading to the faucet, you can apply a hot pad, run a blow dryer on it, or use the space heater method described above. But beware, because you are dealing with electricity near an area of water, take extra caution to avoid electric shock.

Burst Pipe

If you find yourself in a situation where you have encountered a burst pipe, turn off your water supply immediately to prevent damage from leaking water. Then contact a plumber to repair and prevent future plumbing issues.

Pittsburgh’s Best can assist you with all of your plumbing needs! Professional service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Call us today!