How to Winterize the Plumbing in Your Home

In the coming weeks temperatures will continue to drop, so now is the best time for homeowners in eastern North Carolina to begin preparing their homes for plumbing problems associated with cold weather. To prepare your home for the harsh winter months ahead and to ensure you avoid any unwanted plumbing nightmares, our experts at Eastern Plumbing have compiled a list of fall maintenance tips.

Disconnect Water Hoses.

If your water hoses are left connected, the water in the hoses can freeze and expand, causing faucets and pipes inside your home to break. Make sure to disconnect all outside water houses to prevent a potential flood.

Check Faucets.

Inspect your outside faucets to make sure they are not dripping or leaking. If they are, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before the freezing temperatures arrive. When pipes freeze, water pressure builds up causing cracks. A tiny crack can unleash enough water to cause serious damaging or flooding. If you have an underground sprinkler system this will also need to be turned off by a professional.

Clear Gutter Debris.

Remove fall leaves and other debris from exterior gutters and downspouts. Throughout fall, winter and spring, temperatures will drop and rise and water will freeze and melt. Clearing your gutters and downspouts will ensure easy draining throughout the ever-changing seasons.

Flush Water Heater.

Your water heater works its hardest during winter months. Be sure to flush your water heater during this time of the year. When left untouched, sediment can buildup and cause corrosion, which shortens the life span of the water heater and reduces heating efficiency. To flush, drain several gallons of water from the faucet near the bottom of the tank. Connect a hose to the faucet and direct water into a nearby drain. As an added tip, test your pressure relief valve yearly. If the valves are dripping, have them replaced. Over pressurized tanks are dangerous if not addressed. For information regarding your specific make and model of water heater, visit your manufacturer’s website.

Insulate Pipes and Seal Leaks.

Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and garages, especially if your water heater is in the garage. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing. Seal leaks around doors and windows to reduce cold air penetration.

How to Solve Low Water Pressure Problems

Low water pressure is an annoyance for any homeowner. Inadequate water pressure increases the time it takes for simple tasks like showering, washing dishes and watering outdoor plants, and it also increases the amount of water used which means higher water bills. A water pressure reading tells you how forceful your water is in PSI (pounds per square inch). Normal water pressure is generally around 50 PSI. If you find your water pressure isn’t desirable, there are a few steps you can take to fix the problem.

1. Identify Water Leaks.

Check visible water pipes for cracks or leaks. Damaged pipes allow water to seep out, which can negatively impact the water pressure in your home. If you are unable to identify any leaks, turn off the main water valve in your house. Check the water meter reading, wait two hours and read the meter again. If the number on the meter has gone up, it means you have a leak.

2. Check Your Pressure Regulator.

You can find a pressure regulator below the hose connection attached to your house. When a pressure regulator breaks or stops working, you will notice low water pressure coming from every faucet in your house. You’re much better off leaving this kind of plumbing repair to a professional plumber. Trying to fix a broken pressure regulator on your own can cause more damage.

3. Check the Elevation.

The position of your water storage tank can impact water pressure. If your house is situated higher than the tank, water pressure will be difficult to maintain. Whenever possible, make sure your tank is elevated higher than your house to ensure great water pressure.

4. Identify Faulty Valves.

If the main water valve in your house is turned off or closed slightly, it can dramatically impact water pressure. Valves can also unexpectedly slip without you realizing it. If you are experiencing low water pressure, locate your main water valve and make sure it is wide open.

5. Check For Mineral Deposit Buildup.

Overtime, mineral deposits can clog water pipes, block faucets and shower heads, and cause a low water pressure problem. To clean mineral deposit buildup, try using a commercial cleaner or a simple solution of white vinegar and baking soda. Scrub with a toothbrush to remove stubborn deposits. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may need to hire a professional plumber.

Remember, any plumbing task you can’t easily handle on your own requires the help of a qualified plumber. You can turn a simple plumbing problem into a dangerously costly one if you don’t know what you’re doing. Setting the standard in quality service for over 15 years, Eastern Plumbing helps thousands of homeowners in eastern North Carolina with plumbing needs. Our team of professionals consists of some of the most experienced and qualified plumbers working today. We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency.