Florida winters bring frigid temperatures. During these times, homeowners should take precautions to prevent frozen pipes and water damage to their homes.
Plumbing problems always occur at the most inconvenient times. They can cause a lot of stress and cost money.
It is essential to find an Orlando plumber that you can trust. You can do this by asking friends and family for recommendations.
Turn off the Water
Regardless of whether your water pipes are made of copper or plastic, freezing temperatures can cause them to crack and break. A simple leak you would catch when you are home can become a significant problem in your absence, as it is difficult to stop a flood of water from rushing through your pipes.
Turn off your home’s main water supply valve and drain any remaining water. You should also know where the valves are located and show family members, so they can find them quickly if there is a plumbing emergency while you are away.
Set the internal house temperature to at least 55 degrees and leave cabinet doors open, as this will help heat circulate and warm areas where water piping is likely located. Trim any overhanging limbs and clean your gutters to prevent ice buildup. Shut off and drain outside water faucets, and consider installing faucet insulators.
Turn Off the Irrigation
Winters in Florida are often much milder than those in the north, but when temperatures drop, it’s essential to protect your home from frozen pipes. One of the best things you can do is to shut off and drain your irrigation system.
Start by locating your main water valve (the stop and waste), typically in the ground near your water meter. This valve will have a drain cap to open and empty any remaining water from the irrigation system.
Next, locate the system’s drain valve, which is usually near the main shut-off valve and will look like a regular water faucet. Open this valve and place a bucket underneath to catch any excess water that may still be present. Once you have drained the system completely, close all the zone valves and turn off your control clock. If you have above-ground piping, ensure it is also insulated adequately with self-sticking foam insulation tape or using pipe sleeves commonly found at most hardware stores.
Install a Frozen Pipe Detector
When heavy rains roll through Florida, they can cause flooding. Sometimes, this is a result of blocked or ruptured pipes. When that happens, you want to know you’re prepared and have a plan for thawing frozen pipes before they cause water damage in your home.
Most residential plumbing isn’t visible to the eye, especially if it runs through attics or crawl spaces. An intelligent water leak and freeze detector can help you keep tabs on these out-of-view pipes, giving you a heads-up when they’re a threat.
Frozen water pipes are among the most common and costly home insurance claims. A simple, inexpensive investment in a freeze alarm could save thousands of dollars in damage to walls, floors, and fixtures. Insulating at-risk piping systems and tank sections can also prevent frozen pipes. A quick trip to your local hardware store can get you the insulation you need to do this.
Have a Plan in Place
Winter brings several unwelcome events, such as high heating bills, ice dams on the roof, and freezing water pipes. However, a little planning can go a long way in preventing these costly problems.
Having an emergency plan in place is also essential. Make sure you have neighbors or friends nearby who can check on the house if you are gone for an extended time, especially during severe weather. Ensure they know where the key is located and how to shut off the water and gas. Also, ask them to clear any limbs or debris that could fall on the home or cause damage during a storm.
Adding weather stripping to doors and caulking gaps around windows will help keep the cold and warm air out. This is a relatively inexpensive way to make your home more energy efficient, saving you thousands of dollars over the years.