It doesn’t matter if you ask a Cleveland plumber or a Boston plumber – they will tell you the same thing: fixing a leak in your pipes during the winter can be expensive. In most cases, a leak can’t simply be repaired using a patch. In most cases, a leak is caused by some kind of wear and tear on the pipes. Erosion is one of the biggest causes – it is found in older pipes. Another cause of leaky pipes is a broken seal. Whatever the cause is, a plumber will need to dismantle and replace multiple pipes. Not only can this be expensive – it can also be messy. Here are five tips to help you avoid a costly plumbing leak in the winter.
- Insulate your pipes. One of the biggest causes of leaky pipes in the winter is a burst pipe. When it is particularly cold out – below freezing – the water in pipes can expand and cause the pipe to literally burst. One of the best ways to avoid this is to insulate some of your main pipes. The insulation will prevent the pipes from freezing, which should be your main objective.
- Run hot water regularly. On top of insulating pipes, you also want to run hot water on a regular basis, especially during those brutal cold snaps. Running hot water will melt any freezing that is going on in your pipes and it will flush out gunk that causes your seals to erode. You don’t need to run your hot water all the time – every few days or so will do the trick. When you are running the water, you want the water to get very hot and you want to leave the faucet on for a good five minutes.
- Don’t flush anything too big down the drain. Another way to avoid leaks is to not flush anything too heavy or sharp down the drain. If you have vulnerable pipes, one bone or large object could be the last straw. This is especially the case if you have cast iron pipes that are over 50 years old. There is a higher chance that these old pipes have rust or corrosion. You may also want to think about inspecting your pipes to make sure there is no obvious corrosion.
- Shut off the main water valve if you leave town. If you plan on leaving town for a few days, you certainly want to turn off the main water valve. This valve is usually located outside – on your sidewalk or in the street. You want to turn off this valve to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze. This is a simple measure that can go a long way.
- Check your sump pump. Your sump pump is an essential unit – it ensures that excess water and moisture gets filtered out of your home. However, if your sump pump is not working, it could be backed up, which can cause a major leak – or even flooding. All you need to do is inspect your sump pump – just to make sure it is on and doing its job properly.