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a view of burst and frozen pipes in winter

Game of Thrones was right: “winter is coming.” But are your pipes ready for it? Winter is when most homeowners encounter a large number of plumbing issues. You can always call a good plumber when this happens, but why not do your best to prevent the issues from happening?

That’s why we put together our winter plumbing checklist. You can use this as a guide to keeping your pipes and your home safe during the coldest months of the year.

Focus on Pipes First

If you want to avoid calling a local plumber during the winter months, your biggest focus should be your pipes. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps to help you protect these pipes. To keep things from freezing over, you need to shut off outside faucets and then detach any sprinklers and garden hoses. You can then briefly turn the faucet on to drain any water that might be lingering. Exterior pipes and other pipes exposed to the cold need to be insulated. Heating areas with pipes and/or keeping the doors to these areas open can help protect them. In case of emergency, make sure you know how to find and use the shut-off valve to your main water supply. And it’s never too late to upgrade your insurance for better water damage coverage! In case of a plumbing emergency – we’re always just a phone call away!

Check the Drainage

Water drainage is very important in the winter. Little issues like blocked drains and gutters can actually damage much of your home, from the tops of your roof to the bottom of your foundation. You need to physically clean out your gutters once or twice a year and clear out areas around your drains. Otherwise, leaves, sticks and debris from outside can effectively block your drains. This is also a good time to check your roof and replace any shingles as needed. While you’re up there, scope out your chimney and your pipes for any signs of rust. If you’re worried about rain, you should invest in a sump pump. But make sure to test that it works before the next major storm comes through.

Vacation Preparation

Many families love to travel during the winter months—even if it’s just a local getaway to the cottage. There are a few easy steps you can take before leaving the house to avoid potential plumbing problems. First, make sure your thermostat doesn’t go below twelve degrees Celsius. If you have a “smart” thermostat, you can remotely manage the temperature while you are away. Second, get a trusted friend or neighbour to check on your home in your absence. They can provide updates and take precautionary measures to maintain heat so that you don’t come home to a frozen surprise. Of course, you can always turn off your water supply while you are gone for an extended period of time. But we’ve found that having someone check in on your home is usually easier and more convenient.

Need a Licensed Plumber? Call Pitton Plumbing!

While preparation is great, you’ll eventually need the services of a good local plumber. At Pitton Plumbing and Heating, we believe in treating our customers like family members. And to see how we can take care of your home, don’t hesitate to book a service call today! Located in Hamilton, our team of experts service a wide area across Southern Ontario 24/7, giving you access to emergency plumbing services and at-your convenience appointments!


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