Winter plumbing problems are on a steep rise as winter is here. We hope you prepared your plumbing for the freezing weather.
Home & businesses that aren’t properly insulated pose a risk to the plumbing fixtures inside, and if the pipes are exposed to freezing cold temperatures, they freeze up fast. Frozen plumbing is one of the worst plumbing problems that can happen in your home especially in the dead of winter.
Frozen busted pipes will result in costly water damages, which is why it’s critically important to properly winterize your plumbing before the first freeze hits.
Avoiding a frozen plumbing catastrophe means not ignoring the warning signs of a frozen pipe and most importantly knowing how to prevent them.
If your pipes are frosty, it may be inviting to try and defrost the plumbing yourself, but correcting the problem should be the job of a licensed plumber. Your plumbing is tricky, and it can be extremely dangerous without the right training, tools and certification.
The quicker you treat frozen plumbing, the better, as the built-up pressure inside can burst your plumbing over an extended amount of time. To dodge a plumbing disaster, here are a few cautioning signs to watch for.
• Ice on Pipes
See if you can locate any of the plumbing inside your home or business. If you see any ice accumulating outside the pipes, that can be a sign that the plumbing is nice and frosty.
• No Flowing Water
Ice pipes freeze all running water from flowing from your faucet. If there is no H2o flowing out of the faucet, it means it’s frozen.
• Stinky Odor
If you smell something funky, perhaps something funky stinky, the issue could be a frozen pipe. Pipes that partially or completely clogged, give any foul odors no place to go but back up.
• Creepy Noises
If your pipes are frozen, that means there is air that can’t escape the sewer line, and the result is a air under water sound when you flush the commode or use the basin. Screeching, banging, and clanking sounds are also noises to listen for, as they can specify a damaged pipeline.
Besides knowing when it’s time to contact a professional plumber, the best way to protect your plumbing is with proper preparation.
Winter, and the frigid temperatures that come with it are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you or your plumbing have to suffer this winter season. To spare yourself the costly repairs of a few busted pipes, here’s what you can do to prevent your plumbing from freezing.
• Insulate Your Pipelines
Insulation is the best type of protection between your plumbing and the freezing temperatures, which is why it’s important to add a layer of insulation to your plumbing if you haven’t already.
Using some foam pipe insulation, which can be found at any local hardware store, make sure you seal any gaps.
• Insulate Your Home
To protect your plumbing, it’s important that your house is properly insulated as well, which means sealing any air leaks. Check the insulation inside your home, and replace any damaged insulation. Attics and basements should be checked for any air leaks from doors, windows, and vents.
• Let Your Faucets Run a Little
If it’s below freezing outside, let your faucets run a low and steady drip. Letting your faucets drip eliminates pressure that can build up between the faucet and an ice blockage.
A constant small running stream of water inside your pipes can not only prevent some freezing, but a burst pipe in case the water does freeze.
• Don’t Forget Your Hose Bibs
It’s easy to do, but don’t forget the plumbing outside your house. Garden hoses should put away, and the hose bibs, drained and properly insulated.
Hose bibs that are left exposed to the frigid temperatures, can cause some serious damage to the valves leading up to them.
• Open Pantry and Cabinet Doors
Keeping your home well-heated helps to prevent frozen plumbing, but proper heating requires proper circulation. Leaving all the pantry, cabinet, and otherwise closed doors open allows the heat to fully circulate throughout
Malfunctioning plumbing is a pain, and a busted frozen pipe can lead to costly repairs and devastating flood damage. That’s why it’s important to winterize your plumbing before a plumbing catastrophe can happen.
Your warmth and comfort should never be at stake when it comes to your plumbing. Luckily with some preparation, you can stay warm and enjoy your plumbing without the damages. Call us today, and let them answer any winter plumbing concern for you.
Call Fox Valley Plumbing & Backflow Today for more details on your winter plumbing…
Winter has stormed into Elgin and most of Illinois, bringing snow, ice and plummeting temperatures that can wreak havoc on plumbing.
A ruptured water line can cause extensive, costly damage and disrupt your life or business. Worse, floodwater can pose numerous safety and health risks, ranging from electric shock to illness from waterborne pathogens or even toxic mold.
With your family or business on the line, you want to do everything you can to prevent water from freezing inside your plumbing. But if you do think a pipe is frozen, don’t panic; frozen pipes don’t always rupture, and there are steps you can take to prevent pipes from bursting and safely thaw them.
A frozen pipe will not necessarily burst if the faucet valve is open to release pressure moving down the pipe.
We’ll go into tips for thawing pipes below, but let’s start with steps you can take right now to reduce the risk of frozen pipes. Make sure you winterize your property outdoors, draining pools and irrigation systems and hoses, insulating and covering outdoor faucets and securing doors and windows in garages and outbuildings with water supplies. Also, be sure to follow these tips from the American Red Cross:
• Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
• When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
• Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
• If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
Source: American Red Cross
If you wake up one morning and the water won’t come on in your kitchen, don’t panic. While horrifying visions of water filling crawl spaces and mold spores sprouting may be unavoidable, a frozen pipe will not necessarily burst if the faucet valve is open to release pressure moving down the pipe. Take a deep breath, then follow these American Red Cross tips to safely thaw your pipe:
• If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
• Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
• Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
• Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
• Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
These tips should help minimize the risk plumbing ruptures from frozen pipes. But sometimes nature simply shoves aside our best efforts and the worst happens. If you find yourself facing a water damage catastrophe from frozen, ruptured pipes, Call Fox Valley Plumbing & Backflow any day of the week. You’ll talk to a real person, and professional help will be on the way.
Plan Beforehand to Avoid a Plumbing Disaster
Do your research and find out the most reputable, trained and reliable plumbing company in your area. Once you find the right plumbing company, you will have a peace of mind knowing who to call when you have a plumbing emergency.
Talk to a Plumber not a Machine
When you call a plumber to schedule an appointment, you need to consider how the call is answered. Is your call received by an answering machine? Or, is there a person replying on the other end of the call?
After all, it is essential to get your call answered by a person during a plumbing emergency.
Avoid Over-The-Phone Plumbing Estimates
A plumber should offer the exact estimate only after assessing the plumbing problem. A plumber cannot properly analyze it over the phone. If you get an estimate over-the-phone, it is only the base price which can significantly increase after a plumber diagnosis the problem.
Go Through Online Reviews
There are many review sites available online where you get to read the real and authentic reviews written by people who have already opted for an emergency plumbing service.
Verify the Background of the Plumbing Agency
It is essential to know whether the plumbing agency conducts any background checking and drug testing before hiring their plumbers.
You will have the peace of mind knowing the plumber you allow in your home has been through all necessary precautions.
Plumbing plays an important role in the proper functioning of a home. Therefore, it is important that you take the utmost care and caution when repairing any work related to plumbing.
Always do your research and be aware of potential plumbing scams. Know what to expect from the professional plumbing experts who come to service your plumbing problem.
Seek Multiple Estimates
Before finalizing your decision about hiring a plumber, you should seek out at least three estimates with their detailed break down costs. If you find any plumbing contractor is proactively giving the quote over the phone, it would be better to avoid him.
After all, a plumber should be able to assess the damage and cost of repairing them only after visiting the job site.
Once you receive the estimates, you need to compare them and if you find one of the quotes is much lower than the others, you should be leery about it. An excessively lower estimate does not include all the labor and equipment costs for which you will be responsible for paying before finishing the plumbing work.
Don’t Pay a Large Amount of Down Payment
Before starting the job, you need to pay a specific amount of money as the down payment. Usually, 10% of the total plumbing cost is considered as the standard down payment amount. But when a plumber asks for a larger amount, you should be suspicious as it will raise the chance that he could take the money and run.
Beware of Theft
If you are living in a rental or apartment building, you need to be aware of common scams as a plumber may claim that he has been sent by the house owner or the water department and instructed to check the water connection and do some necessary repairs.
In many cases, these are fake people whose intent is to steal valuable items from your household. Therefore, you must verify the identity of a plumber from the homeowner or the building supervisor before letting him enter into the house.
Compare, Compare and Compare
Another common scam is to seek money for the name of expensive parts. But in reality, the plumbers use the cheaper parts and a major portion of profit goes to their own pockets.
Hence, whenever you are asking for the quote, instruct the plumber to mention the make and model of every major part or equipment. Then, compare the cost of each item with the local building supply store to know whether any major price difference is there.