WINTER PLUMBING MAINTENANCE

When it comes to preparing your plumbing for winter, you don’t want to be left out in the cold. At GAC Plumbing Company, we can help you with all your seasonal plumbing maintenance needs. Below are five quick and easy ways to get your plumbing ready for cold months.

1. Check for Leaks

Now is the time to look for any plumbing leaks around your home. Check faucets and shower heads and take note of any low water pressure. If you see any leaks, call a professional to repair them right away. Even small leaks add up quickly, wasting precious water as well as money.

2. Disconnect Your Outdoor Hose

When the temperature drops, hoses are the first victims. One of the most important plumbing maintenance tasks this time of year is disconnecting and storing any outdoor hoses to prevent freezing. This also helps protect pipes inside your home. Try to do this ahead of time so your hose is safely stores before the first wave of cold temperatures. Also during the freezing temperatures it is a good idea to locate the shutoff valves for outside faucets and turn those off.

3. Have Your Pipes Inspected

If you’ve never inspected your pipes before, a professional can check them to make sure that they are in tiptop shape for the winter months. They can also prevent pipes from bursting by insulating them to protect your home and replacing them if they are faulty. Bursting pipes can be devastating to a homeowner.

4. Keep Your Home Warm

This tip may seem simple, but cool indoor temperatures can be the biggest cause of pipes bursting in the home. Check to see that your thermostat is set and activated, and make sure that the temperature in your home does not drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Take Care of Your Sinks

Using a sink as a garbage disposal can be problematic. Particularly during winter, oils and fats poured down the drain can freeze once temperatures drop. This can clog your drains and cause more problems. Be sure to dispose of grease properly to keep your pipes clear and be ready for the big chill.

If you want a hand with your plumbing maintenance tasks this year, the experts at GAC PLUMBING COMPANY are happy to help. Contact the team today to schedule an appointment.

Septic Tank Information Asked by our Customers

How does a conventional septic system work?

Conventional septic systems are the most common type of septic system (the others are innovative/alternative (I/A) systems and cesspools). A conventional system includes a septic tank, distribution box, and soil absorption system (SAS). The septic tank separates the solid and liquid wastes and the SAS provides additional treatment before distributing the wastewater to the ground.

Why are failing septic systems harmful?

Inadequately treated wastewater can transfer diseases such as dysentery, hepatitis, and typhoid fever to animals and humans. Failing systems also leak excessive nutrients and bacteria to rivers, lakes, and the ocean, destroying plant and animal habitat, closing beaches, and hurting the fishing industry and causing breakouts of agile in lakes and ponds.

How do I know if my system is having problems?

Some clues:

  • Muddy soil or pools of wastewater around your septic tank or soil absorption system.
  • Sewage smells around your system or inside your house.
  • Backups when you do laundry, take showers, or flush the toilet.

Call GAC Company (707) 538-8000 if you notice any of these symptoms.

Do I really save money by maintaining my system?

Yes. Pumping your system costs between $150 and $650, and an inspection could cost $200-$800. Replacing a system could cost up to $45,000.

What are the most important things to do to take care of my system?

Pump your system at least every 3 years (annually if you have a garbage disposal). Conserve water. Don’t dump non-biodegradable s or trash down your toilet or sink. See our list of do’s and dont’s .

How often should I pump?

Every 2 to 5  years, and annually if you have a garbage disposal.

Will additives help my system?

There isn’t one on the market that can make a failing system pass inspection. To ensure the additives will not harm your system we recommend using natural preventive maintenance.

What are the regulations governing the disposal of paint and paint wastes into a septic system?

Only sanitary sewage is allowed to be discharged to septic systems. Paint and paint wastes should not be put into any septic system because they can adversely affect their operation and may cause groundwater contamination.

How Do I as a System Owner Properly Care for my Septic System? (Do’s & Don’ts)

Conventional septic systems can function very well with minimal care. In fact, most septic tanks will only require an inspection and pumping out by a professional every three to five years if they are used properly. This does not pertain to I/A systems, which need more frequent oversight.

DO …

Do have the system inspected and pumped every 3 to 5 years. If the tank fills up with an excess of solids, the wastewater will not have enough time to settle in the tank. These excess solids will then pass on to the leach field, where they will clog the drain lines and soil.

Do know the location of the septic system and drain field, and keep a record of all inspections, pumpings, repairs, contract or engineering work for future references. Keep a sketch of it handy for service visits.

Do grow grass or small plants (not trees or shrubs) above the septic system to hold the drain field in place. Water conservation through creative landscaping is a great way to control excess runoff.

Do install water-conserving devices in faucets, showerheads and toilets to reduce the volume of water running into the septic system. Repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets, run washing machines and dishwashers only when full, and avoid long showers.

Do divert roof drains and surface water from driveways and hillsides away from the septic system. Keep sump pumps and house footing drains away from the system as well.

Do use only additives that have been allowed for usage in California.   Additives that are allowed for use in California  have been determined not to produce a harmful effect to the individual system or its components or to the environment at large.

Do take leftover hazardous chemicals to your approved hazardous waste collection center for disposal. Use bleach, disinfectants, and drain and toilet bowl cleaners sparingly and in accordance with product labels.

DON’T …

Do not use your toilet or sink as a trash can by dumping non-biodegradables (cigarette butts, diapers, feminine products, etc.) or grease down your sink or toilet. Non-biodegradables can clog the pipes, while grease can thicken and clog the pipes. Store cooking oils, fats, and grease in a can for disposal in the garbage.

Do not put paint thinner, polyurethane, anti-freeze, pesticides, some dyes, disinfectants, water softeners, and other strong chemicals into the system. These can cause major upsets in the septic tank by killing the biological part of your septic system and polluting the groundwater. Small amounts of standard household cleaners, drain cleansers, detergents, etc. will be diluted in the tank and should cause no damage to the system.

Do not use a garbage grinder or disposal, which feeds into the septic tank. If you do have one in the house, severely limit its use. Adding food wastes or other solids reduces your system’s capacity and increases the need to pump the septic tank. If you use a grinder, the system must be pumped more often.

Do not plant trees within 30 feet of your system or park/drive over any part of the system. Tree roots will clog your pipes, and heavy vehicles may cause your drainfield to collapse.

Do not allow anyone to repair or pump your system without first checking that they are licensed system professionals.

Do not perform excessive laundry loads with your washing machine. Doing load after load does not allow your septic tank time to adequately treat wastes and overwhelms the entire system with excess wastewater. You could therefore be flooding your drain field without allowing sufficient recovery time. You should consult your tank professional to determine the gallon capacity and number of loads per day that can safely go into the system.

Do not use chemical solvents to clean the plumbing or septic system. “Miracle” chemicals will kill microorganisms that consume harmful wastes. These products can also cause groundwater contamination.

Winter Plumbing Checklist

Winter Plumbing Tips

The brutal winter season can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. It is very important to prepare for the temperature drop. Frozen water in pipes can destroy your plumbing from the inside out. As a preventive measure get ready for winter with GAC Company Plumbers winter plumbing checklist.

1.  Fix All Plumbing Leaks

The smallest water leak in your plumbing can turn into a huge problem when temperatures fall below freezing. Check all exposed pipes, indoors and out, for plumbing leaks. If you wait, and the water to freezes, the damage to the surrounding pipes is likely to be more significant. If your pipes are insulated, feel for potential in the insulation. This moisture might expose hidden leaks in your plumbing.

Stopping plumbing leaks will not only save your plumbing, but it will also save you money. You can also learn how to find leaks in your plumbing system by following the step by step instructions in this link on stopping high water bills: https://gaccompany.com.

2.  Insulate Your Pipes

One basic preventive measure you can take in protecting your plumbing against a harsh winter is to make sure that all exposed pipes are well insulated. To locate exposed pipes; look in your attic, crawl spaces throughout your house, and in your garage. If you can see the pipe, it needs to be wrapped with plumbing insulation foam. Pipe wrap insulation is inexpensive and easy to install. This can save you on heating costs as well because warm air will escape through the exposed plumbing. The insulation helps keep the warm air in. You will be surprised how effective insulating your plumbing is when it comes to protecting your plumbing.

3.  Evaporative Cooler (Swamp Cooler)

An evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler, should be drained before winter. Before you winterize your swamp cooler, make certain you turn off the water and power to the unit. After the water and power is turned off, drain the water out of the cooler. Always make sure the water supply line to the unit is drained as well.

While winterizing the swamp cooler for winter, it is always a good time to clean the interior and change the pads and filters. Always make certain to cover the swamp cooler with a cover or tarp during the winter to keep it dry.

4.  Pump House

When it comes to plumbing, prevention in keeping things from freezing is the key for a smooth winter season. When your water comes from a well this is especially important. If you have a well, make certain there is proper insulation of the pump house. This will help can keep pipes from freezing. It is very important to insulate any exposed pipes in the pump house. A heat source is also needed to keep the temperature of the pump house above freezing. Make certain your heater is in working order. Check all the heating elements.

5.  Hose Bibs

Protecting the hose bibs and pipes from freezing is very important. Remove any garden hoses that are connected to outdoor faucets. Removing garden hoses ensures that water doesn’t stay trapped in the hose bib where it can freeze and damage your plumbing. Drain any water the hoses may have in them before storing. Protect garden hoses by storing them in a warm dry space throughout the winter. Often, perfectly good hoses in the fall, are stored in places that freeze during the winter. When these same hoses are brought out to be used in spring they are broken with holes. Freezing temperatures make garden hoses brittle. This couples with water being left in the hose make the hoses obsolete in the spring.

To protect hose bibs from the cold, drain the collected water and insulate them. In many places where temperatures drop significantly during the winter months, homes have dedicated shut off valves for outdoor hose bibs or faucets. If you have a shut off valve, simply turn the water to the hose bibs off. Make sure you then drain any water that is already in the pipes. This can be done by opening the hose bibs and letting the water drain completely. If you don’t have a shut off valve, you can protect hose bibs and outdoor faucets by insulating them with hose bib covers. Hose bib covers are very inexpensive and extremely easy to install. The insulation that these foam covers provide should keep the hose bibs from freezing during the winter.

6.  Sprinklers System

The pipes of your irrigation system are a likely place for water to collect and then freeze in cold weather. To winterize your sprinkler system turn off the water and flush out any collected water by turning on each individual valve connected to the sprinkler system.

7.  Locate Your Water Main (Extremely Important)

Always make certain you locate your water main in case of an emergency. This is absolutely imperative. Following this 1 tip could save you tens of thousands of dollars in water damage restoration and flood cleanup. If you are ever faced with a burst pipe due to freezing you’ll want to be able to shut off the water quickly to minimize damage to your property. You can take every preventative measure to ensure your plumbing from freezing and still get broken water pipes in the winter. Know where the water shutoff valve to your home is. Make sure you have unencumbered

GAC Plumbing Company
707-538-8000