Seattle is more than just damp during the winter, it can also get pretty cold out there. The last thing homeowners need is to deal with frozen or broken pipes when it starts to snow. If you want to avoid a disaster that could end in your family checking into the nearest hotel, here are a few tips.
Your plumbing may work perfectly on a normal day, but what about when you have the whole family over for Christmas dinner? Just one pipe rupture could mean a big end-of-the-year bill you had prepared for. Before the worst of the temperatures take hold, locate the main water valve in your home in case you need to turn off the line immediately. This valve is usually near the water meter and should be opened and closed at least once a year to ensure optimum performance. You can also use hose bibs to keep the faucets further protected from the elements.
There are a few things to think about during the busy season of hosting or traveling. For example, turning the heat down below 45°F increases the likelihood that the pipes will freeze. While most homeowners won’t go this low while they’re in the home, some may be tempted to turn off the heat when they’re on vacation. Homeowners can also consider cutting off the water entirely, just in case the pipes still do freeze. You should also be careful when using your garbage disposal. The extra cooking and preparation can cause residents to accidentally dump anything from fibrous scraps to fat or grease.
Turn off the outside water valves to identify uninsulated pipes on the outside of the property. Wrap all vulnerable pipes in foam insulation to protect against freezing. You can also check the state of your insulation (including the garage) to protect your internal pipes and lower your overall utility usage. Now is also a great time to loosen soil, clean out gutters, and apply fertilizer. The more aerated and clear the lawn is, the better the drainage will be. During freezing weather, open cabinet doors up to expose the pipes to the heated air outside.
From the water heater to the HVAC system, hiring a professional can be the key to catching a problem long before it catches you. Best Plumbing is here to help the residents of Seattle diagnose, repair, and replace any components that pose a threat to their homes. We help all our clients in the Puget Sound area get ready for even the coldest and snowiest of winters. Contact us here or call 206-633-1700 to speak to an expert!
Photo credit: © nouspique
Eco-friendly home features are good for the environment, good for your wallet and good for your community. So, how can you make your home’s plumbing system greener? We have a few ideas! By improving the way you manage and prevent clogs and by purchasing more environmentally-friendly plumbing fixtures, you can do your part for the planet while also improving the quality of life at home.
Start by being conscious of what’s going down your drain. Use strainers in the kitchen to keep out large, fibrous food items that might create a clog. Similarly, thin strainers or nets in the tub are perfect for keeping hair from blocking water draining properly. If you do find yourself in a bind with a clogged pipe, one natural household item that can alleviate small blockages is found in most home’s pantries: vinegar. Vinegar is an acidic and natural cleaning agent that you can use from time to time. However, if you have large or reoccurring clogs, then it’s time to contact a professional.
When pipes do become clogged, many people resort to store-bought drain cleaning chemicals to get the water flowing once again. However, these chemicals are bad for the environment and bad for pipes. To eliminate clogs the environmentally-friendly way, use a plumber’s auger.
Simply insert the tip of the auger into the drain, rotate the auger using the crank, then push the auger farther into the drain. Keep repeating this process until the auger pierces through the clog. Retract the auger when you’re done.
A combi boiler is a fixture that replaces your hot water heater and boiler. With one appliance, you can heat your home and keep hot water running through your pipes at the same time.
How does it work?
The combi boiler heats water for your plumbing and heating system. The pipes from both systems enter the combi boiler and are heated when they pass by the burner. Water then proceeds to different locations throughout the house, either to the baseboards or to the hot water spigots in your home. The heat exchanger stores unused energy from your hot water pipes and then transfers that leftover heat to the pipes that heat the rest of your home.
Why is this eco-friendly?
Combi boilers are energy efficient. Instead of heating an entire tank of water at a time, you are heating the water as you need it. Also, households that use a combi boiler only need one fixture to do the job of two appliances! Talk to us about combi boilers to learn more about installing one in your home.
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The last thing you want to do if you discover a leak is ignore it. Even what might appear to be a small leak can result in significant damage if water is allowed to soak underneath your walls and floors for a prolonged amount of time. Here are four steps you can take to prevent a plumbing annoyance from turning into a plumbing emergency!
The first step is to turn off the water to the damaged pipe or plumbing fixture. If you can’t turn off the water to just that fixture, go ahead and turn off the water main — here’s a great video that walks you through the process. We also recommend turning off your water heater for good measure if you end up shutting off the water main.
Do some detective work to find how exactly where the water is coming from, the size of the leak, and the condition of the pipe, fixture, or toilet. This will help you determine if it’s a major problem or a smaller maintenance issue — just keep in mind that the leak could possibly be the result of a larger issue elsewhere in the line. Also, take the time to clean up any standing water so it doesn’t have a chance to soak into your floors.
Depending on what you uncover during your investigation, your plumbing issue might be the result of a blocked sewer or damaged main waterline. Make sure to contact your water company if you suspect this is the case.
The experts at Best Plumbing are available 24/7 to help you with your plumbing situation! You can visit our blog and Youtube channel for useful tips on how to do small repairs yourself or schedule an appointment if you feel your plumbing needs a professional opinion. Our Best Plumbing team has proudly served the greater Seattle area for over 40 years!
Photo Credit: stevepb, available under Creative Commons CCO.