I own a condo that I rent out near Chicago. As everyone across the U.S. can attest, it has been cold. There was a -50 wind chill last week. Enough said. Last week, I received a call from my tenant; the doors were frozen shut in the front and back of the building.
I called the building maintenance department and found out that a pipe froze in 2S and flooded 2S and 1S. I own 3S, thank goodness. This incident got me thinking, a plumbing disaster can ruin your home or investment in the blink of an eye. I decided to do some research and come up with a list of the top three tricks to household plumbing that could help me next time an incident occurs.
1. Drain and remove your outdoor hose for the winter. It is easy to forget to remove the hose each winter. It gets chilly. You don't go out in the yard as much. Out of sight, out of mind. However, if you don't drain and remove the hose, it could freeze.
Shut the water off from the inside and open the valve on the outside to drain excess water. If it froze, it could cost around $200 to repair. Take the fifteen minutes and prevent the problem instead.
2. Insulate pipes - make sure that all plumbing is insulated. If not, clean and wrap piping in insulation. Make sure the entire pipe is covered. If pipes are not kept warm enough (such as the case with my condo building), the water will freeze, expand, and crack the pipe, causing a flood.
3. Are you leaving for the winter? Drain all pipes before you head south. Turn off your main shutoff valve. Open all valves, starting from the highest point in your home. Let all water drain from the valves. Lastly, open the plug at the main shutoff and let that drain completely. Don't forget to dispose of any sitting water in your home.
For professional help winterizing your home, call F.E. Moran plumbing at 847-498-4800 or contact us here.