Valve problems and common pipe issues can occur at a moments notice in the winter. No matter how well you maintain your home, plumbing problems can always occur. This is especially true during the winter when freezing temperatures place a lot of stress on the pipes and valves. As a smart homeowner, you need to be aware of potential problems so you can recognize them when they happen—and better yet, take action to prevent them in the first place.
Below are some Common Pipe and Valve Problems to Look Out for:
- Frozen pipes. Let’s face it: frozen pipes are every homeowner’s nightmare. When the water in the pipes freezes, it expands, creating cracks and bursts in the pipes. And that means that when the water melts again, you’re stuck with a leak. Of course, leaks cause water damage, including mold growth, which can be a serious health hazard. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to minimize the chances of frozen pipes. First, keep the heating on in your home so the interior temperature is a minimum of 55 degrees—even if you go away for a few days. It’s better to pay your energy bill than it is to have to pay for an emergency plumber, not to mention cover the costs of water damage. Second, keep a faucet running at all times. This makes sure that there’s a constant flow of water from the main through your plumbing system—and so long as water is moving, it can’t freeze. Third, insulate any exposed pipes in your basement, crawlspace, or attic. You can use special pipe insulation tape or pipe insulation sleeves made out of foam.
- Frozen outdoor faucets. Outdoor faucets or sillocks are particularly vulnerable to freezing temperatures. If there’s still water in the pipes and faucet, they can easily burst, which is why you need to take precautions to prevent this. A two-valve sillock system has a valve in your basement and a valve in the faucet itself. You need to shut off the valve in the basement and leave the faucet open so that any remaining water can run off, eliminating the chance of it freezing. A one-valve sillock is simply an outdoor faucet connected to the indoor piping system, which makes it quite vulnerable—especially when water that’s trapped between the faucet and the valve freezes. A better option, however, is to install a freeze-proof sillock, which automatically drains water from the system. It also has a vacuum breaker, so if you leave your garden hose attached to the faucet, the water doesn’t flow into the home.
- Blocked sump pump outlet pipe. Because a sump pumps water out of the basement and away from the home, its outlet pipe is typically located to the side of or behind the home. Unfortunately, many homeowners forget to check that the outlet is clear before and during the winter. A blocked outlet, of course, will cause the water to back up and the sump pump to fail. You can prevent this by making sure the outlet is free of debris and clearing away any snow or ice during the winter.
By keeping this advice in mind, you’ll greatly reduce the chances of having water damage affect your home this winter. Plus, in the event you do have a pipe or valve failure, your knowledge of the issues listed above will help you know when it’s time to call a plumber so you don’t mistakenly wait until the damage gets out of hand.
Call Jones Services today for more information on common pipe issues and valve problems!