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November and December are busy months in many households. Some people travel long distances to see friends and relatives. There may be a lot of activity at home. In addition to the holiday season, November is also a time when outdoor temperatures drop and winter weather really sets in. Cold weather and busy households can put additional stress on plumbing pipes and fixtures.
Frozen Burst Pipes
Frozen, burst pipes are a common concern now that cold weather has arrived. There aren’t many plumbing issues that match burst pipes in terms of creating chaos and water damage. Water expands when it freezes, and pipes may not have enough room to accommodate newly formed ice. You may be able to prevent bursting if you thaw a frozen pipe correctly. This can be tricky, so calling a plumber is your best bet.
Frozen pipes can break open in a spectacular fashion because the ice exerts pressure on the pipe walls. Pressure needs to find an outlet and usually breaks through at the weakest point. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, pipes are in more danger of bursting when water freezes and melts repeatedly. Fluctuating pressure can be more damaging than steady pressure. Pipes are more likely to freeze in places without adequate insulation, such as attics, basements, or underneath sinks. Ask your plumber about insulating faucets.
Freezing is the most well-known cause of burst pipes, but it’s not the only cause. Minerals, grit, stones, and other abrasive substances cause corrosion on the outer walls of underground pipes. Hard water with high concentrations of minerals can even cause corrosion on interior pipe walls. Metal pipes are also vulnerable to rust. Pipes weakened by corrosion or rust may leak, crack, or shatter. Other possible causes include tree roots, incorrect installation, or a damaged foundation.
Contact your local plumbing company to schedule regular plumbing inspections and maintenance. If your plumbing hasn’t been inspected in a long time, a plumber may uncover unexpected problems during the first visit. Several common factors, including the mineral build-up, excess moistures, and excessively high water pressure, may accelerate wear and tear on pipes and fixtures. A professional plumber can identify these risk factors early and implement proactive solutions.
Unfortunately, cold winter months in Bloomington, IL, are sometimes punctuated by severe storms. Adverse weather events may cause power outages. We don’t usually associate plumbing and power outages, but some plumbing fixtures need electricity to function.
Homes connected to the public water supply should have running water for daily tasks. This may not be the case for households with well water. If your well relies on an electric pump to transfer water to the house, you won’t have running water unless a backup generator or other alternative power source takes over.
Surprisingly, some toilets won’t run during power outages. Most toilets rely on gravity, water, and pressure to operate, but certain models have electric pumps in the tank. Although you may have plenty of cold water, the hot water heater can’t run without power. Even gas-powered heaters still need a small amount of electricity. A tanked heater offers some leeway. You can use hot water that’s already stored in the tank.
Power outages may be a serious issue for homes with sump pumps. A sump pump removes water flowing into the basement or crawl spaces. If a power outage is caused by a storm, sump pumps could stop working right when they’re needed most. Consider installing a generator if you rely on sump pumps to control flooding. Your plumber can help you figure out how much power is needed for sump pumps and well pumps so you can choose an appropriate generator.
Strategies to Avoid Water Damage
Worrying about our homes in Bloomington, IL, while we’re traveling is perfectly normal. However, anxiety can interfere with a holiday and even keep people up at night. No one wants to discover water damage when they return home. Taking steps to reduce the possibility of water damage can improve peace of mind and keep anxiety at bay.
If you’re planning to travel over the holidays, make sure to safeguard your home. Shut off the water and open every faucet in the house to make sure water drains out of the pipes. Turn the water heater to its lowest setting or turn it off completely. You can even schedule an appointment with your plumber before holiday travel to make sure everything is okay. These preparations keep your home safe in case of a long power outage or a heating malfunction while you’re away.
Outdoor faucets, sprinklers, and irrigation systems need to be ready for winter too. Close all of the inside and outside valves and disconnect the hose from the faucet. It’s better to complete these tasks before the weather gets too cold. You can also contact a plumber to handle winter preparations.
Make sure your toilet is working correctly. An overflowing toilet is a hygienic issue and a potential source of water damage. Toilets on the second floor can damage the ceiling on the first floor. A toilet that doesn’t flush smoothly or easily is inconvenient, but this relatively minor issue could be a sign of another problem that isn’t so obvious.
Consult your local plumber if you think the toilet may be leaking or seems to be malfunctioning in other ways. Problems with the toilet can come from valves, flappers, the toilet tank, or the water supply. The risk of overflow and serious leaks from a toilet in an empty home is very low, but addressing problems with the toilet may relieve stress and give you one less thing to worry about.
Don’t hesitate to call Covenant Plumbing for all your plumbing needs in Bloomington, IL. Licensed professional plumbers handle repairs, install new appliances, replace piping, and many other services to keep your home’s plumbing in great shape. There’s no need to wait until a problem occurs. You can call anytime to schedule an appointment for a plumbing inspection or routine maintenance.