There are some forms of plumbing that we pay more attention to than others. The importance of looking after our own “pipes,” which are also known as our veins and arteries, is something that’s drummed into us from an early age, and while we don’t want to scare children with stories of heart attacks and strokes, we also want them to learn how damaging a diet that is high is sodium and saturated fat can be to their bodies. Sure, some of us take better care of our internal plumbing than others, and yet what about that other vital form of plumbing?
How Often do you Actually think about
the pipes that run all over your home and under your back and front yard- probably not often enough, and yet they are something that require a check up from time to time, especially to make sure that they work perfectly and don’t freeze during winter. Generally, we only think of these pipes when something goes wrong, but like with most aspects of home maintenance, prevention is easier than a cure. So before your pipes give up, let’s have a look at some ways to make sure that your pipes work perfectly the whole winter long.
Your hose tends to be unused, even forgotten, over the winter months, but it’s important to store it properly during the cold part of the year. Disconnect your hose from the spigot, coil it up, although not so tightly in case it cracks, and place it in the garage or shed. The disconnection is vital, since any water left in the hose might freeze, creating a line of ice that can go back through the spigot and into the pipes, which can cause the pipes to freeze and sometimes break, meaning they will have to be replaced, which is an expensive nuisance.
In the Basement and Attic
You might have a basement or attic where exposed pipes run along the ceiling, and these can be particularly affected by the cold weather. It’s easy enough to make sure there are no problems by simply insulating the pipes with a foam pipe insulator, which can easily be obtained from any plumbing supply or hardware store. You just slot the foam over the pipes, so installation couldn’t be any easier. Remember to check the width of the pipes before buying, although you can easily tighten the insulation foam with some strong industrial tape.
In the Home
Most of the time, your homes natural insulation will keep your pipes flowing all winter long, although in isolated parts of the home, you might want to consider wrapping the pipes with foam pipe insulator. If your home is prone to frozen pipes, it can be a good idea to run the faucet at a low volume a few times each day, which encourages water circulation, reducing the risk that water within the pipes will stagnate and freeze.
If the Worst Happens
If a pipe does freeze, you can often get things going again by thawing the pipe in question with the infrared light from a heat lamp, or even a hairdryer. If the frozen portion of the pipe extends beyond your reach or you’re not able to locate the frozen section, then it’s probably time to call in a plumber.
The cold Seattle winters can wreak havoc with your plumbing, whether you live in a downtown apartment or out in the suburbs. Plumbers are important, so make sure you have the phone number of a 24 hour plumber, just in case you find yourself in need of one at three in the morning