November 14, 2017
Pre-winter drain cleaning should be on the top of your to-do list with the winter season just around the corner. The cold temperatures and weather conditions can put a lot of strain on your home, especially your plumbing. Pipes that aren’t prepared for the massive drop in temperatures can freeze entirely, or worse, burst, which is why before the snow starts sticking, it’s important to thoroughly clean your drains with a pre-winter drain cleaning.
Why Burst Pipes are Your Worst Nightmare and How You Can Prevent Them
Clogged and damaged pipes can cause a lot of destruction, but they’re especially susceptible to bigger problems when the thermometer hits below zero. Pipes that freeze don’t just prevent running water from flowing throughout your home; they eventually cause your pipes to burst. Burst pipes are an expensive repair, and they can cause some serious water damage to your home. Luckily there’s a lot you can do to prevent your pipes from bursting this winter season, and it involves keeping your drains clean.
- Drain your pipes. Pipes tend to freeze when there is water and debris stuck inside them, which is why you’ll want to thoroughly drain all your pipes before the winter season. You can start by turning off the main water valve, which is usually located near your home’s water meter. Next, you’ll want to turn on every water fixture until there is no running water. Make sure to flush all toilets starting from the top floor to the bottom, you’ll know when each toilet is empty when their tank is empty. Next, you’ll need an air compressor to pump some air into the pipes and force any remaining water out. You can also use canned air if you don’t have an air compressor. Lastly, by pouring some non-toxic anti-freeze down the drains, it will push any remaining water out of the pipes. The goal is to have your pipes and drains as clear as possible.
- Insulate your pipes. Keeping your pipes clear isn’t enough though, as exposed pipes can still freeze. Adding a protective layer of insulation to your exposed pipes helps to ensure you’ll have functioning plumbing all winter season. To do so, you can pick up some pipe insulation tubes at your local hardware store and wrap them around the pipes underneath your sinks, outside, or in your basement.
- Insulate your home. Protecting your pipes from the frigid temperatures is important, but so is protecting your house. That’s why for some extra insurance and money saved from your utility bills, it’s important to go through your home and seal any air leaks. Replace damaged insulation, cover your vents, seal up your crawl space, and check your windows and doors for any damages.
- Let your faucets drip. It might sound counter-intuitive, but a dripping faucet can help prevent your pipes from bursting. All it takes is one slow and steady drip to eliminate the pressure between your faucet and an ice blockage that would cause your pipe to burst.
- Keep your drains clean. You don’t want water trapped in your pipes, but you don’t want waste trapped in there either. Routinely cleaning your sinks, shower stalls, and bathtubs are one easy way to cut down on drain clogging substances. Make sure you have drain strainers to catch any food, hair, and soap scum that would otherwise be washed down the drain. Avoid flushing anything other than waste down the drains, and don’t overwhelm your garbage disposal. Water, soap, vinegar, and citrus fruit can go a long way, so try to avoid using chemical drain cleaners, as they are toxic and eat away at your pipes.
Warning Signs of Frozen Plumbing
Sometimes even the utmost preparations can’t prevent all winter plumbing disasters, but it still helps to know when there’s a problem. The earlier you have a plumber treat your frozen or damaged plumbing, the better. Trying to be one step ahead of your plumbing can be tricky. Luckily there are a few warning signs that are usually a dead giveaway for frozen plumbing.
- Strange sounds. Frozen pipes have more symptoms than no running water; they can also produce strange sounds. Bubbling, whistling, clanking, and banging are all warning signs that something is wrong with your plumbing.
- Foul smells. Sewage is not pleasant to smell, and if you start smelling something foul coming out of your drains, chances are a clog is preventing that sewage from flushing down.
- Frost on pipes. If you notice any frost accumulating on a pipe, chances are it’s already frozen solid.
- Damp drywall. There are pipes that run through your walls, floors, and ceiling, and if any of them are leaking, that water can seep through, resulting in damp drywall and wet rings.
- Constant problems. If your home has a broken or frozen pipe somewhere, chances are you’ll have persistent plumbing problems. Constant clogs, slow running water, little to no running water, and discolored or foul-smelling water can all be signs that there’s something seriously wrong with your plumbing.
Don’t Wait! Get Pre-Winter Drain Cleaning
Winter is a tough season and it puts your home under a lot of stress. Nobody wants to deal with busted pipes in the dead of winter, and luckily you don’t have to. Proper preparation and maintenance can make a world of a difference when it comes to your plumbing. Winterizing your home, however, still requires some professional help. Letting a licensed plumber thoroughly inspect and treat your plumbing helps to ensure you have no plumbing catastrophes this winter. Your drains can’t wait, have a plumber perform your pre-winter drain cleaning.
Call Milltown today for more information on pre-winter drain cleaning!