5 Ways to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Call your Local Plumbers in Naperville if you have frozen pipes! Winter can prove an enchanting time for many people. Family members gather for the holidays, while some hard-working homeowners flee for sunnier climates or winter sporting opportunities. However, many of the season’s events also pose special challenges for your home’s plumbing system.

If you want to enjoy your winter as thoroughly as possible, you should understand these seasonal challenges so you can take preventative measures against them. Start by adopting the following five strategies for keeping your plumbing safe and functional all winter long.

1. Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

Illinois winters routinely dip below freezing, especially overnight. You might assume that this danger applies only to outdoor pipes, but indoor pipes can also freeze. If the water inside your pipes turns to ice, the resulting buildup of internal pressure can cause the pipes to burst, potentially causing very costly water damage.

To keep outdoor or exterior-facing pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation designed for this purpose. You can usually find this material at a home improvement store. Protect indoor pipes by opening cabinet doors and maintaining moderate indoor temperatures. Run faucet taps at a slow drip to keep the water moving.

Pipes can freeze despite all precautions. If you can’t get more than a trickle of water from your faucet, the associated pipe may have ice in it. You can thaw out the pipe safely by applying heat to it while letting the water continue to flow through it. If the pipe has burst, shut off the water supply and call your plumber.

2. Check Your Water Heater Situation

The same cold temperatures that endanger your plumbing pipes can also harm your water heater. Some water heaters come with built-in insulation, so consult your owner’s manual or ask your plumber’s opinion.

A water heater that can’t do its job properly will ensure a miserable winter for anyone who enjoys hot showers or warm baths. Have a skilled plumbing technician check the temperature-pressure release (TPR) valve, anode rod, tank walls, and other components for any potential failure points that require service before the cold sets in.

3. Ready Your Garbage Disposal for Holiday Feasts

Winter holidays typically feature dinner parties, family reunion meals, and other large-scale eating extravaganzas. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that garbage disposal can eat as impressively as your dinner guests. Disposals can clog easily if you use them as trash cans, so reserve their use for small bits of food.

The kinds of foods you put down your garbage disposal matters as much as the quantities. Avoid disposing of fibrous foods such as celery or potato peelings in this manner. These items may get caught in the blades and overwork the motor. Always run water when operating the disposal, but run it from the cold tap.

4. Make Sure Your Toilets Can Accommodate Winter Guests

Those same winter holiday get-togethers can put undue stress on your toilets as well as your garbage disposal, especially if you welcome several loved ones for an extended stay. A single faulty toilet will redirect users to the other toilets, forcing those toilets to work that much harder. Get the toilet fixed before guests arrive.

Visiting children and their parents may drop non-flushable items down your toilets, causing clogs and overflows. Make sure everyone in the home knows not to flush toys, food, diapers, feminine hygiene products, and other such items. You might even switch to a thinner toilet paper during guests’ stays to reduce the risk of clogs.

5. Close the Water Shutoff Valve During Winter Travel

Winter holidays offer many homeowners the opportunity to embark on vacations. Whether you plan to hit the ski slopes or you’d rather migrate south for the winter, you don’t want to return to a flooded house. Unfortunately, this scenario can occur all too easily if your plumbing system suffers a catastrophe while unsupervised.

You can prevent this winter nightmare easily enough by remembering to shut off the water supply before going on your trip. Home plumbing systems include a water supply valve that controls the water flow to the entire house. This valve usually resides in or near the foundation slab, the basement, a crawlspace, or an exterior wall.

Once you’ve twisted the control knob or lever all the way shut, no new water should find its way into your pipes, minimizing any water damage that might occur should cold temperatures damage them. However, you should test the knob to make sure it actually works properly before vacation time, not at the last minute.

If you worry about your home plumbing system’s ability to get through the winter intact, turn to the professionals at Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. We can perform a complete inspection of the entire system, replace or repair problematic parts, and give you additional preventative maintenance advice. Contact us today or give us a call at (630) 964-2222.


Jim Dhamer
Plumbing and Sewer, Inc.


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