Countdown to Cold
One of the advantages of living in the Lower Mainland is that we don’t always deal with frigid temperatures during the winter months. On average, the Greater Vancouver area is one of the warmest in Canada during the winter months. But that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down! When that cold weather hits, you want to be ready. This is why we talk about maintaining your heating system every fall. If your furnace or boiler isn’t ready to handle colder weather, you’re going to notice it. Of course, heating isn’t the only thing you need to keep in mind during the winter months. If you’ve kept up with the newsletter over the past year, you know what I’m talking about: the plumbing. If your home’s plumbing system isn’t ready for freezing temps, you may be in for a nasty surprise — as many homeowners discover year after year. Every winter we get calls due to frozen and burst pipes. When pipes freeze and water is still present in those pipes, you can be looking at serious damage — damage to not only the pipes and your home, but to your wallet as well. The most at-risk parts of your plumbing system are any and all exposed pipes. This includes pipes outside the home, as well as pipes in crawl spaces and attics. All these pipes need to be protected. When ice builds up in pipes, the expansion of the ice can lead to serious damage and ruptures. When a pipe ruptures, water can pour into your home. If temps are low enough, all that water can then freeze, causing an even bigger headache!
According to insurance companies, water damage is at the top of their list for insurance claims, and it is costly. If you experience a rupture that is subsequently followed by damage, you can expect your insurance premiums to go up.
The best first step to preventing ruptures is to insulate the pipes.
Additionally, it’s often recommended that you insulate any interior spaces that aren’t currently insulated. Not only will insulation help keep the pipes from freezing, you’ll probably notice a small dip in your energy bill. You’ll also want to check on all outside taps. If you don’t have frost-free outside taps, make sure each line is isolated from your home’s overall plumbing system. Check for valves connected to outside pipes and make sure they are closed so water cannot flow out. Then, clear them of water before cold temperatures set in to avoid costly line breaks. Don’t have frost-free or frost-proof outside taps? Thankfully, it’s a quick upgrade. When properly installed, frost-free taps are designed to prevent accumulation of ice inside the tap and the connected pipe during the winter months. And don’t forget to disconnect all hoses from your outside taps — including frost- free taps. As a side note, a frost-free tap is not nearly as effective if a hose is connected to it and freezing temperatures set in. When it’s trapped in an enclosed space, ice isn’t something you want to mess with. With your hoses disconnected, be sure to clear out any water remaining in them. You can use gravity or an air compressor to blow out the water, as many people do with sprinkler systems. As the cold sets in, you can always count on us, 24/7! We’re standing by the phone, ready to take your call for all of your heating, air conditioning, drainage, and plumbing needs!
1 604-532-9625 •www.lewismaclean.com
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