It is that time of year again. Winter in Cincinnati can play havoc on your plumbing system. Every year at this time we start getting ready for the calls to come in when the temperature goes down. Best Plumbing wants to help you avoid common winter related plumbing problems that hit a lot of people in Cincinnati. Here a few quick tips that could save you lots of money and major headaches this winter.
The most common thing we see every year is frozen hose bibbs. You know...the hose bibb is that thing that you connect your garden hose to in the summer to water your yard, wash your car, etc. Most of the hose bibbs in Cincinnati are what they call a frost free hose bibb. Frost free does not mean freeze proof. When a hose bibb is classified as "frost free" all that really means is that when you turn the faucet off, it has a long stem that goes all the way back inside your house to stop the water inside where it is warm. That works when the hose bibb is installed correctly, and you disconnect the garden hose from the faucet outside. The biggest reason that we see hose bibbs freeze is that the homeowner forgets to take the hose off of the faucet. So...tip number 1....go out right now and disconnect the hose from your faucets.....all of them.
All right...tip number 2. If you have a cold spot in your house, a place that is drafty and does not get a lot of heat, it is a prime location for a freeze up. Block drafts from coming into crawl spaces and basements. If you have any fixtures (kitchen sink, vanity, etc.) that are located on an exterior wall, feel around these areas for drafts and cold spots. Leave the cabinet doors open at night if you can to let some heat circulate around the plumbing. This sounds like a pretty simple thing, but this is the second leading freeze up spot for plumbing in Cincinnati homes in the winter. This mainly happens at night, and when the winds are high.
Tip number 3, and the most important tip. DO NOT USE HEAT TAPE!!!! There are circumstances that require using some type of heat tape to protect pipes from freezing, but the type of heat tape that is sold at the local home centers is dangerous and if not installed correctly can cause fires. If you have had freeze ups in the past, the correct way to prevent it from happening again is to call a licensed plumber from Best Plumbing to come out and look at the problem areas before you have a pipe freeze and burst.