Winter Plumbing Tips

Winter Plumbing Tips

How to prepare your plumbing system to prevent freezing pipes and other common cold weather plumbing problems

When it comes to plumbing, there are certain ‘cold weather’ preventative measures that will help maintain a healthy, efficient water system and avoid excess water loss and excessive bills. In addition to the harsh winter weather, the holiday season adds extra stress to your plumbing system due to increased activity from guests. In fact, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. Thankfully, you can prevent many common plumbing problems by being proactive and following GAC Plumbing Companies maintenance tips to help safeguard your system throughout the winter months.

Turn off outside water valves to prevent frozen pipes

When the temperature drops below freezing, water pipes in your home have the potential to rupture, creating an expensive disaster in your home’s basement. The average homeowner’s expense for a pipe rupture is about $15,000, according to State Farm Insurance.

To protect against frozen pipes, turn off all outside water valves and then look for pipes in un-insulated areas of the home, such as those running along the home’s outer walls. These pipes are the most likely to freeze and should be wrapped with foam or towels for the season. In cases of extreme cold, it’s a good idea to let faucets drip slowly in order to encourage water flow.

Know the location of your home’s main water valve

In case of a major incident – such as a pipe bursting – when you might need to immediately shut off all the water in the home, it’s critical to know where the main water valve is located. This valve is usually located next to the water meter and should be kept in good condition. To maintain your home’s main water valve and keep it in working order, open and close it once a year.

Conserve your home’s energy – but don’t go too low!

If at any time during the winter you’ll be away from your home, you may be tempted to turn down the heat to save energy. However, turning the heat too low increases the risk of frozen and ruptured pipes. The damage caused by such an accident will be even greater if the rupture goes unnoticed for days, weeks, or even months.

To best prevent a pipe rupture, the home’s temperature should be set no lower than 45F. This solution offers maximum savings while protecting against frozen pipes.

Conserving energy during the winter months while staying cozy indoors can be tricky, but follow are thermostat recommendations for when you’re home to make sure you stay comfortable and avoid high bills!

Make sure your water heater runs properly

Your water heater is more important now than any other time of the year, so this is the perfect time to make sure it is running optimally. A professional plumber can service the unit by checking the tank’s sacrificial anode rod and making any repairs or replacements necessary due to wear or corrosion.

When it comes time to adjust the heater’s water temperature, don’t set the dial above 125 degrees F. This will prevent scalding water as well as reduce energy waste.

Don’t clog kitchen drains and be careful with the disposal

The holidays inspire some of the largest meals you’ll prepare during the year, so how you dispose of cooking-related messes, leftovers, and table scraps can significantly impact your plumbing system.

For example, fats or oils accumulate while preparing many meals, but these leftovers should NEVER be poured down your drain as they can congeal and clog pipes. Instead, allow grease to congeal in the cooking dish and then scrape it into the trash.

In terms of your garbage disposal, it is best to turn it on first and then add the food debris. After the machine has done its work, shut it off and run plenty of water down the drain to clear the system for the next time you need it.

Prepare outside drainage

Winterizing your lawn can help improve drainage from snow and rain. Removing debris from your yard to ensure your gutters and downspouts are clear before the winter will improve their ability to drain runoff.

Consider installing insulation

Preventing frozen pipes can be as simple as a little planning and installing foam insulation. Insulating foam sheaths are sold at most hardware stores in a variety of sizes and are easy to install. Make sure to insulate the entire length of pipe from the point where your home’s main water line emerges from the ground to the point where it enters the heated space of your home. You should also insulate any pipes that are outside the heated portion of your home, like those in attics, unheated basements and outdoor hose bibbs. If pipe insulation is not a DIY job for your home, call a GAC Company plumber.

Hire right the first time

Your home is typically one of the biggest, most important purchases you can make – the result of a painstaking search that might have taken months or even years. Therefore, when it comes to home maintenance – from  repairs to plumbing maintenance – it only makes sense to hire someone who is qualified and will do the job well. GAC Plumbing and Construction offers competitive pricing coupled with impeccable craftsmanship.

CALL GAC PLUMBING AND CONSTRUCTION COMPANY NOW!

707-538-8000

Sewer Odor Testing

Summer is a good time to smoke test sewers due to low flows and suitable weather.
 

Why do I want to smoke test my sewers? If you are getting complaints from residents about sewer backup into their basements, you already know one of the answers. The other reason is that USEPA (and, hence, state agencies) are increasingly “on the case” when it comes to untreated sanitary sewage overflows. If you haven’t already heard from them, it’s probably just a matter of time.

It’s not unusual for older sanitary sewer systems to have high flow rates during storms due to water entering through cracked pipes and gaps in manhole walls.
There are also all of the homes where, over the years, the owners have quietly connected downspouts and sump pump discharges to the sanitary sewer.
Smoke testing is generally intended to find:
• buildings that have illegal downspout, cellar, yard or foundation drain connections to the sanitary sewer
• illegal sump pump discharges into a sanitary sewer
• points of groundwater or surface water intrusion into sanitary sewers
• any cross connections between sanitary and storm sewers
Give it a try!
If you haven’t already tried smoke testing, Give  GAC Plumbing Company   a  CALL at 707-538-8000 and we can find that smell within your bathroom or Basement or walk-in Freezer.

GAC Company

707-538-8000

Sewer Odor Detection

Sewer Odor Detection: How to Get Rid of Sewer Gas in Your Home

Rotten eggs? No one likes smelling this particular odor walking into their home after a long day. After googling it – you may have poured chemicals down your drain for temporary relief however, you might be putting a Band-Aid fix over a larger problem.

What does it mean when you smell sewer gas in your house?

If you have that sewer gas smell in your house, apartment, or condo there may be several reasons why this is occurring. It could be your P trap in your sewer drain lines. You may be asking yourself, “why do I smell sewer gas in my house?” In sewer systems a P-shaped trap is typically filled with water – the water provides a seal to keep out the sewer gas smell. What causes sewer smells in a house? If that water seal is broken then the sewer gases smell will travel up the drains into your bathroom, kitchen, or the entire home. In older homes, the deterioration of the sewer cast iron pipes can be a reason why sewer gas smells enter into your home.

How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?

Since there could be several ways sewer gas smells can enter into your house, an odor detection test is a good place to start. The first step in getting rid of your sewer gas problem can be easily accomplished by an odor detection test commonly referred to as a “smoke” test. This process involves isolating the sewer system by pushing colored smoke through a roof stack and blocking off the drain line with a test ball. This traps the smoke inside the plumbing system. If there is a fault in the drains the smoke will flow from the failure point.

Whether you’ve been struggling with on-again-off-again sewer gas smell in your home for years or have just encountered your first sewer gas problem then this situation can be easily solved by a sewer odor detection test.