Protect your home and family from plumbing problems this winter.

Every winter many homeowners have plumbing issues that can be prevented by taking a few inexpensive precautions. These include:

1. Make sure the filters for your furnace and/or oil burner have been cleaned and/or replaced. Clogged filters can cause your furnace to operate inefficiently and thereby shut down or not provide enough heat to keep the house warm.

2. Insulate all areas that may allow cold wind to blow on pipes.

3. Insulate all exposed pipes especially in crawl spaces and the outside walls of the home.

4. Use pipe wrap and heat tape in areas that are especially prone to the cold. (I.e. the north side of the house).

5. Make sure all hose bibs are off and drained.

6. Install a pressure reducing valve if your home has 70 pounds per square inch of pressure or more. High water pressure can shorten the life of every plumbing part in your home and can also rupture lines and cause connections to fail. If you hear banging in the pipes after you shut off a valve, operate a washing machine and/or dishwasher then you have a problem.

7. If your hot water heater is older than 10 years consider replacing it. They corrode at the bottom and can easily leak flooding your basement.

8. It is important to know where the main water valve is to your home. Make sure it is easily located and tagged for identification. If you need to shut down the water in your home for any reason then you will be able to easily access it.

9. Have the number of a reputable and licensed plumber handy for emergencies.

10. Install inexpensive water alarms in your basement, next to the water heater, next to the washing machine, the dishwasher and under your sinks. Call us at 631-423-2211 for your alarm.

11. Install a flow stop valve on your main water line as this device will sense a water leak and automatically shut down the water to your home.

12. Change washing machines hoses. If they have not been changed within five years, then there is the chance that they can easily rupture especially if your home has high water pressure. ( >70 psi)

13. If you are going on vacation then consider shutting down the main water supply to your home or at least isolating certain areas of your home that do not need a charged water line.

14. Check with your homeowner insurance provider as they may have additional suggestions. Also, you may be entitled to discounts by making certain modifications or improvements that will pay for themselves over time.

15. Let cold water trickle from your faucets, slightly smaller than a pencil’s width, during the evening when the temperature is the coldest. This helps prevent freezing, as moving water does not freeze.

16. Circulating warm air helps keep pipes in the walls from freezing. Keep your house temperature above 55° to prevent pipes from freezing and open cabinet doors under sinks and faucets and near exterior walls to help circulate warm air and keep pipes warmer.

Remember, take the time to check your plumbing system and visually inspect all your pipes, valves, and drain lines. If you need help in evaluating your plumbing system visit our website or please call us at 631-423-2211.