5 Winter Plumbing Tips

We here at Roto-Rooter understand the value of well-maintained plumbing in your home. Ultimately, we want you to be more educated and knowledgeable when it comes to plumbing. Call one of our plumbing experts today for help with winterizing pipes before they become frozen or other plumbing problems occure.

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and quite a few plumbing emergencies. A majority of Americans take part in holiday parties with 11 or more guests around Thanksgiving and Christmas. These extra guests put a serious strain on a home’s plumbing system, which results in more emergency calls to plumbers.

Big holiday meals require a busy kitchen. Too much grease and food find its way into the kitchen drain or disposer. Holiday guests also equate to extra showers and baths as well as lots of extra toilet flushes. It all adds up to potential plumbing disasters.

Pipes clog because of a gradual buildup of grease, hair, soap, and or food particles. All it takes is one major overload, like a house full of guests, to exasperate the situation and create a clogged drain. Follow these plumbing tips to avoid a disaster.

1. Plumbing in the Kitchen

  • Avoid pouring fats or cooking oils down the drain because liquid fats solidify in the pipes and create clogs. Wipe congealed grease from pots.
  • Never put hard-to-grind, stringy, fibrous waste into the garbage disposer (poultry skins, carrots, celery, pumpkin pulp, or banana peels). The disposer can’t sufficiently grind these items and they will clog your sink drain.
  • Run cold water down the drain for about 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposer to flush the waste down the mainline.
  • Turn on the disposer before adding food debris.
  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine at night or at off times to conserve hot water and maintain adequate water pressure for your guests.

2. Plumbing in the Bathroom

Frozen pipes
  • Plan ahead, spread out showers throughout the day; wait 10 minutes between showers rather than taking one right after another.
  • Turn up the water heater slightly to retain hot water. To avoid scalding, do not exceed 125°F.
  • If shower pressure is weak, pour a cup of vinegar into a plastic bag, place it over the shower head, and soak. Use a twist tie to hold it in place overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub off the mineral deposits to help restore water flow.

3. Preventing Frozen Pipes

If water freezes within a pipe, it will expand and crack the pipe. Just like that soda pop can experiment you may have tried when you were younger, you will notice the expansion and explosion when you freeze it. The same thing happens within a frozen pipe, which ultimately can cost you time and money.

The water expanding into ice within the pipe can cause an increase in water pressure. This blockage can create excessive pressure throughout the system and cause pipe failure in vulnerable places. Generally, water pipes in higher places like attics, garages, crawl spaces, or outside walls are typically the most vulnerable locations for a potential frozen pipe emergency.

4. Preventing a Frozen Pipe Disaster

  • Install pipes in an insulated place
  • Bury pipes lower in the ground, below the frost line
  • Install pipes in heated spaces, avoid attics and garages whenever possible
  • Fit pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping
  • Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting.

If you currently notice slower water flow and expect frozen pipes, you should call a plumber immediately. Often times issues like this can be resolved before any damage occurs.

5. Fixing Broken Frozen Pipes

  • Turn off the water main line to prevent flooding
  • Research correct piping layout structure you currently have in your home
  • Identify the cracked pipe and replace broken pipe sections with insulation
  • Call Roto-Rooter plumbers immediately for the best and fastest repairs

Image by G J Whitby from Pixabay