Not many cities experience all four seasons like Boise, Idaho. The spring is bright, the summers are warm and the fall is cool and crisp. However, that also means that the winters can be cold and dreary! The city usually gets snow in the winter, especially close to the mountains.
If you're a homeowner in Boise, it's important to protect your plumbing as best you can, especially during the winter months. The more preparation you take, the more you reduce your chances of being inconvenienced by a lack of running water or heat. Here are some ways to winterize your plumbing and prepare your house for those colder months:
Start with your pipes
The most common problem homeowners face during the winter is with their plumbing fixtures. If the water in pipes is exposed to cold temperatures, it can freeze. How do you know if this happens? Sometimes your water and plumbing stops completely - a faucet won't deliver water or your showerhead won't turn on. Most of the time the water thaws and everything goes back to normal but sometimes a freeze causes serious damage. When water turns to ice, it expands putting too much pressure and strain on pipes, which may cause them to burst. This is when things can get even more serious but you won’t normally know a pipe has burst until it begins to thaw and you hear or see water spraying out of the pipe. Water leakage, no matter how bad, can cause extensive - and expensive - damage to your home requiring an emergency plumber. So, what do you do?
Winterize your plumbing by insulating your pipes to protect them against the cold. You can do this yourself or call a professional plumber. By insulating your water supply pipes, they will have an outer layer of fibrous material to shield them from extreme temperatures. It will help ensure that throughout the winter, the water inside the pipes doesn't freeze. Insulation is especially important in cold rooms like garages, attics and laundry rooms. If you're waiting for an experienced plumber to come out, try wrapping your pipes in newspaper or adding a heater to the room to make sure they have enough heat. Learn more about protecting your plumbing all year round with our helpful seasonal plumbing tips.
Let your water run but only at a trickle
It may come as a surprise, but opening faucets and letting a small amount of water flow through them can actually prevent frozen pipes and plumbing complications. By steadily running the water, you can prevent ice from forming in the supply tubes. The small amount of water movement is enough to keep them from freezing. Running them during extremely cold periods is a good practice. Sinks or tubs located against outside walls are most prone to freezing. Outdoor hoses are extremely susceptible to cold air so be sure to disconnect garden hoses and cover the hose bib with a foam insulation kit. View our plumbing basics to learn more about the plumbing throughout your home.
If you're going on a vacation, have someone come over every day to keep an eye on things if you know the temperature is going to be down into the teens or low twenties. The last thing you want is to come home to a burst pipe.
There are plenty of other small ways you can protect your plumbing and help prevent winter weather damage. For instance, be sure to keep your home warm during the cold weather. Close any garage doors, especially if there are plumbing fixtures housed in there.
Keeping your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets open can help circulate warm air and ensure they won’t freeze. In addition, keep an eye on your thermostat throughout the day and night and never let it go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Never turn your heat completely off if you're heading out on vacation.
Call a professional
When it comes to preventing damage to your home, you may want to leave it in the hands of a professional. Our plumbers at Roto-Rooter are experienced and knowledgeable. They can locate all of your exposed pipes and add protective layers of insulation to them.
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