It's never a good time for plumbing emergencies to strike in your home, but winter can be a particularly difficult season to get hit with home maintenance problems. Between the low outdoor temperatures and increased reliance on your home's utilities, winter plumbing problems can strike out of nowhere and create a huge headache if those problems render certain water and plumbing services unusable.
With winter around the corner, now is a good time to make sure you're taking action to prevent plumbing emergencies from occurring, and to lay out a plan of action if your home is hit with plumbing problems during the cold winter months. Here's an overview of simple preventative steps you can take to protect your plumbing this winter, as well as tips for lining up a plumbing service that can make a house visit at any time, day or night.
While you can never fully protect your home from certain plumbing issues, prevention can go a long way toward reducing your risk of an emergency—especially one caused by the cold winter weather. Here are some simple prevention tips to consider as you winterize your home:
- Insulate your pipes. Pipes exposed to low winter temperatures are at risk of freezing and bursting. A simple layer of insulation can protect those pipes and spare your home from costly, damaging water line breaks.
- Turn off outdoor water sources. Outdoor spigots and hoses should be disconnected and cut off from their water source to prevent freezing.
- Open pipe-containing cabinets when you leave your home. By exposing those pipes to temperature-controlled air, you reduce the risk of a burst pipe.
- Keep indoor temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintaining higher indoor temperatures, even when away from your home, can be very effective in deterring burst pipes and other plumbing issues.
Locate Your Emergency Water Shut-Off
When burst pipes or other plumbing emergencies strike, it may be necessary to shut off water to reduce the water damage affecting your home. Even if an emergency plumbing service is on its way, shutting off this water can prevent gallons of water from entering your home and causing significant damage in the span of minutes.
Depending on your home's construction, the emergency water shutoff will likely be found near your main water line entry into the home. If you have a basement, the water shutoff may be down there. It may also be close to your home's kitchen or bathrooms. Find this water shut-off, and remember that in the event of a burst pipe or other plumbing incident, you can access this shut-off and stop water from entering the house until you're able to come up with a solution.
Keep Cleanup Equipment On-Hand
The right cleaning equipment can make all the difference when tending to a plumbing mishap in your home—even if you're only trying to buy time until professional help arrives. If you want to be prepared to face these plumbing emergencies head-on, you'll need to equip your home with the following:
- Mops and squeegees. Be ready with the right gear to sop up messes, push standing water toward floor drains, and clear out water and other plumbing debris until help can arrive.
- Towels and buckets. If you're dealing with sprung leaks or dripping water in your home, buckets and towels can help you control the mess until the water is turned off.
- Box fans. Air circulation will expedite the drying process in your home.
- A dehumidifier. For particularly wet messes, dehumidifiers can pull moisture out of the air and dry not only hard surfaces, but also your carpets, rugs and other absorbent materials affected by the plumbing problem.
- All-purpose cleaning agents. After the mess is cleared away, a good cleaning agent can eliminate germs, odors, and other remnants of your plumbing mishap.
Put a 24-Hour Emergency Plumbing Service on Speed Dial
While prevention is a great strategy, it's always smart to hope for the best and prepare for the worst—especially when it comes to plumbing emergencies. With that in mind, you should always have the contact information handy for a 24-hour plumber that can make an impromptu visit to address a plumbing emergency that rears its ugly head at the worst time possible—even if that occurs on an evening, weekend, or overnight.
In some cases, this on-call plumbing service may be the same as the plumber you typically work with. In other cases, you may need to specifically seek out an after-hours plumbing company to find someone who can come over as soon as possible.
Pick Out a Backup 24/7 Emergency Plumber
Even with an emergency plumber picked out, you can't guarantee that plumber will be available in your time of need. The difference between waiting a few hours and waiting a day can be enormous when it comes to minimizing damage to your home. If your first choice for an all-hours emergency plumbing service isn't available, move on to your second choice—and be ready to keep calling around until someone can come right away.
When plumbing disasters strike in the dead of winter, a same-day plumbing service is often the hero you didn't realize you needed. If you're struggling with a leak or other plumbing issue in your home, don't suffer in silence—call a plumber today to get prompt service and a solution to your home's plumbing needs.