As winter and the holidays sweep across the nation, drains everywhere begin to groan. The stress of freezing temperatures, an unearthly amount of food, and more frequent flushes are all taking their toll on your plumbing system. While you always have the option of calling in a professional like those found at ManhattanPlumbingContractor.net, you may want to consider avoiding plumbing emergencies altogether.
Thou Shalt Not…
Plumbing systems usually work really well, as long as your respect their limits. Most people know the basic “Don’ts,” like don’t flush sanitary napkins or anything other than toilet paper down the toilet. Other common don’ts include not flushing chemicals down your drains and not putting grease down your drain. All of these things can lead to clogs and in the case of chemicals, corroded pipes and contaminated ground water. If you think clogs are bad, imagine what a pain in the neck a corroded pipe is going to be!
Thou Shalt Dribble
A little less commonly discussed are the “Do’s” of plumbing maintenance, especially during the winter. The first thing to remember is to watch your weather. If temperatures are dipping well below freezing, it would be wise for you to keep faucets dribbling. This is especially important for any pipes that might run along an outside wall. By keeping the faucets slightly turned on, you keep the water moving, which helps prevent freezing. If you have never had frozen pipes, consider yourself lucky and continue to take precautions to prevent it.
Thou Shalt Warm Thy Pipes
Another common trick used to prevent freezing pipes is to keep cabinet doors that lead to pipes open so that the warm air from your home can circulate around the pipes. In some cases, you may even want to consider using a space heater near the pipes. If you choose to use a space heater, be sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and that you exercise due diligence. Space heaters are especially dangerous fire hazards. Proper insulation can also help keep your pipes warm during cold snaps. Your local hardware store can usually supply you with everything you need in order to keep your pipes snuggly warm and your water flowing freely.
Thou Shalt Monitor
While you are going through a cold snap, make sure to monitor your pipes for signs of freezing. Recognizing the signs of impending trouble can help fend off emergency situations. The first sign of trouble will usually be reduced water flow from the faucet head. If you see this happening, you can use a hair dryer to try and thaw the parts of the pipes you have access to. The best times to check flow are right before you retire for the evening and as soon as you get up in the morning since most freezing occurs during the frigid night hours.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a pipe burst due to the rapid expansion of freezing water inside inflexible pipes, be sure to turn off the water valve and, if necessary, the hot water heater as well. In all cases involving a burst pipe, call an experienced plumber, like those at ManhattanPlumbingContractor.net, right away.