The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may have been written for homeowners. While preventative home maintenance may be one of your least favorite things to do, ignoring it can cost thousands. In the winter, more than any other time of year, it is incredibly uncomfortable when your plumbing and heating systems fail.
In preparation for winter, here are a few key plumbing and heating prevention tips to help you stay dry and warm.
Service Your Furnace
In winter seasons, especially during the coldest parts of the day (usually the middle of the night), our furnaces are working the hardest. This is when they tend to fail and you wake up to frigid indoor temperatures. All the name brand systems (Carrier, Lennox, Rheem, Amana, etc.) have condensation traps that can’t drain condensation as fast as it’s produced, a design flaw that causes it to shut down.
By the time the technician arrives, the furnace may have already started back-up and running fine again, because it has had time to drain slowly. But, if it happens once, it will happen again, but a preventative furnace tune and clean can help by clearing debris and making sure everything is working properly.
Check for Proper Drainage in Your Plumbing and Heating Systems
Clear your gutters of leaves and pine needles to prevent winter precipitation and run off to properly drain. Water damming can cause flooding and often customers call for plumbing service, when it is really an issue with poor draining outdoors. Seal basement windows and cover window wells to avoid moisture and/or water damage.
Make sure your water heater is properly draining, as well as the condensation line for your furnace.
Prepare for Extra Guests
If you are having extra guests over for the holidays, a preventative sewer line cleaning can clear a line that could back up with the extra taxing of the system. If not already done, get plungers for each bathroom and stock it with non-plush type toilet paper. Don’t have wipes or paper towels in the bathrooms because if they are flushed, especially in larger quantities, they can cause a back-up.
Check for Potential Pipe Bursting
Shut off your outdoor spigots and unhook hoses to prevent burst pipes. Close the valve and drain the spigots, if possible. Check under sinks, especially on walls that face the outdoors and/or north facing walls to ensure there is proper insulation to prevent freezing.
If you will be going away from home during the winter, be sure to have your main water valve marked clearly for your house sitter, in case of a freeze emergency. If you will be gone for an extended period of time, consider winterizing your home.
Check windows and doors for leaks
Check and seal any drafty windows and doors. Reports show a home could benefit from 10-20% energy savings from reducing the drafts in your home. Your furnace won’t have to work as hard if it isn’t trying to keep up with air leaks, so repair caulk and/or seal windows with plastic.
Staying comfortable this winter has a lot to do with the maintenance you do for your plumbing and heating systems, but it goes beyond that. For more cold weather tips, check out this blog, and if there is anything we can do to help you have a better winter, give us a call at 303-459-5469. We’d love to make you smile today.