Fall and Winter Plumbing Tips

As fall and winter approach, it’s important to take steps to protect your plumbing from the risks associated with these seasons. Understanding how the changing seasons affects your plumbing and how you can reduce the risk of a plumbing emergency will keep your home safe from water damage and lower water waste to keep your bills manageable throughout the remainder of the year. Your residential plumber in Portland can help you evaluate your plumbing to catch any signs that attention is needed so you can address small problems before the cold weather of the fall and winter can exacerbate them.

Use Your Disposal Properly

Fall and winter holidays often bring family and friends together for delicious and memorable meals and parties. While your garbage disposal can be a great boon when it’s time to clear away the leftovers, using this tool improperly can lead to damage and clogs that affect one of the most frequently-used sinks in your home. You can avoid disposal problems by following a few simple rules for using your disposal properly. Always run cold water when using your disposal; let the water run for a few seconds both before and after you begin rinsing food down the drain. Never put bones, corncobs, coffee grounds, or cooking grease and fat down the disposal, as these foods can clog the drain or damage the disposal’s blades and cause a backup. If you do experience garbage disposal trouble, call your plumber for help—trying to repair the issue yourself could lead to further damage that will leave your sink out of commission for longer.

Protect Your Pipes

If you’re planning fall or winter travel, it’s important to consider your plumbing and how to protect it while you’re gone. Rather than turning your home’s heat off completely, leave it set between 45-55 degrees, especially if you will be gone more than a few days or if very cold weather is expected. Keeping your home above freezing will prevent the water in your pipes from turning to ice and causing burst pipes that flood your home or yard and waste gallons of water that will show up on your plumbing bill. Fall is also a good time to check around your home for any exposed pipes and have your plumber insulate them to protect them from cold temperatures, which will reduce strain on your water heater and prevent leaks.

Maintain Your Water Heater

Water heaters are at their busiest when the outdoor temperature is low. Taking the time in the fall to ensure your water heater is in good shape will help it perform at its best throughout the winter, reducing the chances of a water heater breakdown when you need it most. You can flush your water heater yourself if you feel comfortable doing so, or your plumber can perform this task quickly during a short service visit. A professional plumber can also check the tank’s sacrificial anode rod and replace it if necessary to prevent corrosion and mineral buildup inside the tank. Finally, check your water heater’s temperature setting—you can turn it up a few degrees during the winter, but avoid setting the temperature higher than 125 degrees to prevent scalding and reduce unnecessary energy usage.

Our Portland plumbers offer the plumbing maintenance and repair services you need to keep your plumbing healthy throughout the year. Regardless of the season, we can provide advice and products to improve your daily life and conserve water for a healthier environment. Please check us out online or take a look through our blog to learn more.

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