Though attention to plumbing maintenance is an all-year matter, the winter season imposes its own issues on your system. Pipes that transport water and the fixtures that utilize it are subject to long-term wear and tear, as well as sudden damage. The average flow rate of water entering a typical home from the municipal water supply ranges from 6 to 12 gallons per minute. Major plumbing failures could inflict extreme damage to contents of the house, as well as on the structure itself. Less dramatic, chronic issues, meanwhile, can raise monthly bills.

Here are some plumbing maintenance items to keep in mind in frigid winter conditions:

  • Small leaks make a big difference. Get dripping faucets and showerheads, as well as toilets that keep running, repaired by a qualified professional plumber. A single sink faucet that drips once per second wastes five gallons of water per day and more than 2,000 gallons per year. A running toilet, meanwhile, can waste 250 gallons per day and potentially add $200 to your monthly water bill, so plumbing maintenance is definitely in order here.
  • Have your pipes inspected. An experienced plumber can check water-supply lines and drain pipes for telltale signs of seepage and other issues that may waste water or, worse, turn into a major rupture, causing expensive damage. He can also install insulation on pipes exposed to very low temperatures.
  • Be alert to hard freezes. Outdoor temperatures around 20 degrees may potentially cause a pipe rupture. Keep the furnace thermostat setting at 65 degrees or above during frigid weather. Open faucets to let them drip slowly and relieve damaging internal pressure if ice forms inside pipes. Keep cabinet and closet doors open to circulate warmth into wall spaces. Know where the main water shut-off valve is located and test it annually to make sure it turns easily.
  • Disconnect outdoor hoses. A garden hose in frigid winter weather can actually damage the hose bib and water line it’s connected to as freezing water inside the hose expands. All hoses should be disconnected, drained of water, and then coiled and stored for the winter.

For winter plumbing maintenance by certified, experienced personnel, contact the professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

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