Four Reasons to Let the Professionals Winterize Your Home Plumbing System

Once a hard freeze hits, it’s too late to prepare your pipes and water system for winter. If you haven’t sealed and protected your plumbing system before cold weather arrives, you can face burst pipes, a locked-up well pump or worse.
It’s best to let a professional inspect and prepare your home in autumn for the upcoming frigid months. A scheduled service call in October or November can save you from serious home damage in January. There are four important reasons to call a pro to winterize your plumbing.

1. Your Main Water Source Must Be Protected

Whether you receive your water from a city main or your own well, the method of water delivery must be protected from the elements. Lines running from your municipal water meter to your home must be buried under the frost line. The main and branching supply pipes leading into your home from the water line must not be exposed to the elements or you risk having no water after a serious cold snap.
When you receive water from a well, you must weather-proof a jet- or push-pump and the pump housing to ensure your water pump doesn’t freeze and crack. Even if you have a submersible pump, any supply lines above the frost line can freeze solid and stop the flow of water to your home.
If you’re like many homeowners, you aren’t absolutely sure where your plumbing lines lead. You may not know how to tell when your supply lines are vulnerable to freezing.
Plumbing pros know how to find and follow all of your pipes to ensure they’re protected from winter’s wrath. They know how to safely install heat tape and other winterization methods so your home always has free-flowing water throughout the freezing season.

2. Your Appliances Need Special Care

Any appliance that fills with and drains water can be subject to freezing issues. If your water heater is located in an unheated attic or basement, both the outside and household supply lines can freeze if they’re not insulated.
In an extended deep freeze, your entire water heater can freeze and burst, although this is unusual. More likely, a frozen line may cause water to overflow from the water heater’s pressure relief valve and possibly flood your home.
Dishwashers and washing machines must drain to your wastewater lines. If the drains on the washing machine and dishwasher freeze, water can back up into your kitchen or laundry area. Trust a plumbing expert to check out the fill and drain lines for your appliances. They can check for and repair any clogs, cracks or other waterline problems that could pose more serious issues when the temperature drops below freezing.

3. You Need to Know Your Vulnerable Supply and Waste Points

The number of vulnerable spots in your home’s plumbing pipes goes up as the age of your home increases. Newer, energy-efficient homes are designed to be more protective of the plumbing system and prevent temperature extremes from reaching pipes.
Older homes may have plumbing added as an afterthought. Pipes may run along outside walls. If a plumbing pipe freezes and cracks in an outside wall, the resulting leak when it thaws can destroy framing, sheetrock and flooring. The leaking water can damage electrical wiring and insulation.
Your plumbing pro knows how to check the vulnerable areas of your home based on your home’s age and construction type. The experts can immediately spot potential winter disasters and repair them. An inexperienced inspector or DIYer may miss important clues that hint at a future wintertime home plumbing catastrophe.
Like waste lines from appliances, waste lines from sinks, toilets, tubs and showers can freeze and back up. Your plumbing professional knows the risk factors for a wintertime sewage or septic tank freeze-up and can take steps to protect your waste lines that aren’t buried.
In some cases, antifreeze or warm water can be poured down waste drains to help keep them open when the weather will be below freezing for an extended time.

4. Your Exterior Plumbing Issues Must Be Addressed

It’s best to drain and open up exterior spigot lines to avoid issues if they freeze. However, you’ll need to have shut-off controls to keep the exterior water supplies closed off from the faucets. If you don’t have shut-off valves for your outside faucets, you must insulate and wrap your faucets to keep them from freezing. You must also disconnect any back-flow prevention devices to completely drain the lines.
Your exterior irrigation lines and garden hoses must also be drained and disconnected. Both your landscaping irrigation system and your vacation cottage interior plumbing can be fully drained and blown out with lightly pressurized air by plumbing professionals. This is the best way to reduce the chances of frozen, burst pipes in delicate irrigation lines and unoccupied structures.
A professional plumbing tech will winterize your interior and exterior plumbing efficiently and effectively. Specialty tools can completely drain entire home systems. Any necessary repairs can be performed while your plumbing expert is winterizing your water system. When winter comes, you can have peace of mind knowing your water lines have been inspected and serviced by skilled professionals.
Contact the plumbing professionals at Ragan Mechanical to schedule your pre-winter water system checkup and winterization service.

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