The sky is dark, the wind is biting, and you’ve just felt your foot slip into an icy puddle. All you want to do is get home and get warm.
But when you step inside, you sense that something’s wrong. And then you see it; the unmistakable signs of water damage in your wall that tells you a pipe has frozen and burst.
Now you’re cold, miserable, and looking at costly bills to replace the plumbing and clean up the moldy, soaking wet mess that is your house.
These things do happen, but we can tell you one thing – you’ll never survive a Calgary winter unless you follow our winter plumbing tips.
1. Winterize Your Pipes
Your pipes are one of the first – and worst – things to go when it gets too cold in your home. They freeze, then burst if they aren’t dealt with right away, leaving you with a big, expensive mess. That’s why it’s so important to properly winterize them.
We advise you to keep your furnace well-maintained to avoid breakdowns, and make sure all areas of your home are being heated in some capacity. That little-used guest room in the corner of the second floor could be your undoing if left in the cold.
You should also insulate any exposed or vulnerable pipes. You wouldn’t go outside without your parka, so you shouldn’t let your pipes go without some extra protection either.
2. Get Bio-Clean for Your Clogged Drains
Winter is a busy time, particularly when you think about all the holidays. From Thanksgiving to Easter, it seems like you’re constantly throwing or attending some sort of function.
All that extra work puts a strain on your drains, particularly if you’re in a hurry and aren’t being cautious about what you put in them.
The extra wear and tear, not to mention suspicious substances, will create clogs in your pipes and drains, leaving you with an icky situation at the worst possible times.
To avoid this, we recommend picking up some Bio-Clean drain cleaner for the holiday season – it’s a safe, environmentally-friendly alternative to dangerous chemical cleaners. Make it a part of your plumbing maintenance routine to keep clogs from happening in the future.
3. Prep Your Water Heater
Everyone talks about the pipes, but your water heater needs some winter damage prevention too.
Water is colder in the winter, meaning it’s going to take longer for your water heater to do its thing. And it’s not just the water; the more sediment and mineral buildup your water heater has, the more time, energy and money it will take.
Now think about how many hot baths and long showers you like to take. That can really add up, and you’ll flinch when you see your energy bill.
We recommend doing a full flush of your water heater before winter. This is when the water heater is drained completely, and then you run water through it. This will get rid of sediment buildup in your water tank, or mineral buildup in your tankless model.
Depending on the kind of water heater you have, you may have to call a plumber. Take the opportunity to get an inspection done as well, so you know your water heater is up to the job.
After your water heater is flushed, you should make it a habit to check the pressure release valve. This is easy to do; just open and close it 2-3 times and listen for a faint hiss. If you hear that hiss, that means no leaks. If your water heater stays silent, you’ll want to do a more thorough leak check and get a replacement valve.
4. Check Your Sump Pump
You know what’s potentially worse than a Calgary winter? The Calgary thaw. It wasn’t that long ago that we got it bad; 100,000 people were affected in the worst flood in our history in 2013.
While we hope to never experience something as terrible and destructive as that flood again, flooding is a real problem every spring. Your sump pump is your first defence against a soggy basement and costly damage.
Winter is the perfect time to clean up your sump pump pit and make sure that it’s working properly. You should also keep an eye out for any ice that could block the discharge pipe.
5. Clean Up the Outside
Often we’re so focused on the inside of our homes that we don’t spare a thought for the outdoors. But preventing winter plumbing problems starts outside.
Remember to drain and store your hose, and thoroughly drain your outside faucet early in the fall to avoid frozen pipes.
You should also check for any drafts or broken seals around your windows and doors – cold winter air getting into your home won’t help your plumbing (or your heating bill!)
6. Get a Plumbing Inspection Now
The best winter plumbing tip we could give you is to meet us in person. Before the icy wind of winter is permanently upon us, get a professional plumbing inspection done.
We’ll look for leaks, help insulate any exposed pipes, and provide maintenance to your water heater, whatever kind it may be. Just one visit will give you the assurance that your plumbing really is ready for winter.
Just Call Us Your Winter Warriors
We’ve been in the business a long time, which means we’ve seen a lot of winters. We’re hardy, battle-scarred knights of the plumbing world, and prepared for whatever Calgary throws our way.
If you need a winter warrior to come and winterize your home, contact us today!