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Plumbing Maintenance: Winterizing Routine

Have you ever had a frozen water pipe in your home? Sure, it’s a nuisance when you turn on the tap and discover your plumbing isn’t working. But that’s not the end of the ordeal. A hard freeze turns water inside the pipe into ice, which expands and creates pressure that often cracks or splits the water pipe, no matter if it’s made of copper, plastic or cast iron. The real trouble starts when the pipe begins to thaw and pressurized water begins spewing out of the crack and into a wall cavity! If your home has a basement, it could soon turn into an indoor swimming pool if the leak goes unnoticed for an extended period. If you want to avoid these scenarios, winterize your plumbing now, before the temperatures drop into the sub-zero range.

Insulation is the key. If you have exposed pipes in a crawl space, beneath pier and beam or trailer homes or even in attics and unheated garages, you need to insulate the pipes with foam insulation sleeves. Be generous with the insulation. There is no “less is more” when it comes to avoiding frozen pipes. Look at the sinks, toilets and bathtubs in your home. Do the supply lines for these fixtures run along outside walls? If so, those water pipes could be vulnerable if our winter is particularly cold. Take steps now, while you still have some reasonably warm weather on your side. For helpful winterizing tips, watch Roto-Rooter’s winterizing video.

And the number one thing you need to do now if you live in the Northeast or Midwest is disconnect garden hoses from outside faucets. Then cover the faucets with Styrofoam insulation kits. If you live in the south, do this before the end of November! When water inside a garden hose freezes, it expands ice and pressure right into the faucet itself and into the water pipe that supplies it. That’s the most common place where water pipes freeze. And if you have a leaking outside faucet, fix it before winter arrives. If you can’t do it yourself, call a plumber. If you don’t those drips will surely freeze and create a bigger problem this winter. A plumber can also inspect your plumbing system and show you where your may have vulnerabilities to extreme cold.

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