Tips to Avoid Winter Plumbing Problems

Cold temperatures, family gatherings, and greasy holiday food can spell trouble for your plumbing system this winter. Fortunately, with a little foresight, you can avoid winter plumbing problems and keep your pipes flowing smoothly. Here are the top tips for San Jose homeowners.

Mother reading to daughters by christmas tress

Avoid Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can occur anytime the temperature falls below freezing, which occasionally happens in the South Bay area. Follow these tips to protect your plumbing:

  • Set the thermostat to 60 degrees or higher at all times.
  • On particularly cold nights, allow faucets to drip and open cabinet doors so heat can reach the pipes below the sink.
  • Seal and insulate any unconditioned parts of your home where pipes are present.
  • Insulate hose bibs and exterior pipes.
  • Disconnect, drain, and store garden hoses.
  • Consider turning off the water to the house if you’re leaving town for a while.

Prevent Water Heater Malfunctions

Your water heater works harder in the winter. Keep it going strong with these tips:

  • Drain a few gallons of water to remove sediment from the bottom of the tank.
  • Insulate exposed pipes to reduce heat loss on the way to the tap.
  • Cover your water heater with an insulating jacket to reduce standby heat loss.
  • Set the temperature to 120 degrees instead of the standard 140 degrees.

Avoid a Clogged Kitchen Sink

The extra people and festive food associated with holiday gatherings put added strain on your kitchen plumbing. Here’s how to prevent inconvenient clogs and garbage disposal problems:

  • Always run water while grinding food and for a few seconds afterward.
  • Never put cooking grease, fruit pits, coffee grounds, animal bones, or stringy food down the drain.
  • Grind food scraps a little at a time. Also, cut any large items into smaller pieces your garbage disposal can handle.
  • If the disposal jams, try pressing the reset button on the bottom of the unit and inserting an Allen wrench into the hexagonal-shaped hole to get things moving.
  • To avoid splatters, don’t use bleach or drain cleaner in your kitchen sink.

Prepare Your Sump Pump

Get your sump pump ready for wet winter weather with these tips:

  • Clean debris from the sump pit and the surrounding area.
  • Test your sump pump every week or two.
  • Install a battery backup in case the first sump pump fails.
  • Improve the drainage on your property to reduce the strain on your sump pump.
  • Check your foundation for cracks or other areas where water could leak inside.

Need a Plumber?

Mike Counsil Plumbing has been dedicated to serving homeowners in San Jose and the surrounding South Bay area for nearly 30 years. We know the plumbing needs of our region, so we can help you avoid inconvenient or costly problems this winter. For more information about our services or to schedule a visit, please call us at 408-916-1226 or contact us online.

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