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Fall 2013 Newsletter

Five Tips for Winterizing Plumbing Pipes

It’s hard to believe that winter is just around the corner. If you’re like many homeowners then you may be getting your home ready for the cold. Your plumbing system constitutes one of the most important things to protect from the cold. Burst pipes can cause significant damage, as well as costing you water pressure in your home. Take a look below at 5 tips for winterizing plumbing pipes.

  • Insulation.  Few things winterize your plumbing system more effectively than insulating your water pipes. The water in the pipes is under pressure so that it can flow up your pipes and into your home. If the water freezes then it won’t have anywhere to go and the pressure will continue to build until it bursts the pipe. If you live in an area where the temperature gets below 20° F (–6° C) then you should probably consider insulating your pipes.
  • Drain exterior faucets. Your home likely has an outdoor hose bib or a faucet with a hose connected to it for washing cars and watering plants. Shut off the main water supply to those faucets, remove any hoses attached to them, and then turn them on again. This will drain any excess water in the pipes so that it doesn’t freeze and damage your plumbing. You might also consider draining your hoses to prevent them from freezing as well.
  • Keep indoor fixtures warm. Seal off any cracked windows or doors near your fixtures and incoming pipes. Anywhere in your home that isn’t insulated well could allow the pipes to freeze.
  • Address crawl spaces. Don’t forget about insulating the pipes that run under your home, in your attic or in your crawl spaces. These areas are probably not insulated, which means that the pipes in them can get very cold as well.
  • Insulate the water heater. Your water heater probably isn’t in danger of freezing but the cold weather can sap a lot of heat from it. Consider insulating it in order to reduce your energy usage throughout the winter.

If your pipes do freeze, you should turn on the closest cold water faucet to relieve pressure created by the freezing water. Wrap the pipes in towels soaked with warm water to slowly thaw them. Do not try to use a hair dryer or blow torch to thaw the pipes because the rapid change in temperature can cause the pipes to crack.

The Importance of Servicing Your Furnace

If you’re like many homeowners, then you’ve noticed the chill in the air as fall and winter approach. As we all shut down our air conditioners and prepare to stay warm, we wanted to alert our customers to the importance of getting your furnace serviced. Take a look below at some of the benefits of regular tune–ups for your furnace, and then call your local heating contractor to set up a visit from their technicians today.

As your furnace operates, it will naturally develop a variety of small problems and issues. These can range from the fan motor belt wearing out to the burner gradually getting dirtier. Without regular service, such issues will likely just get worse and eventually cause more costly repairs. They can also force other parts of your furnace to work harder to compensate for the broken part.

When you get your furnace regularly serviced before the fall and winter, your technician will thoroughly clean and inspect your entire furnace. This allows him or her to find any small problems in the system and alert you to them so you can approve repairs. This has several important potential benefits to your home.

  • Reduced repair. Probably the most important potential benefit to regular tune–ups is that it allows you to avoid many types of repairs that result from lack of maintenance.
  • Increased efficiency. If your furnace has many small problems with it, then it will have to work harder to heat your home, which reduces its efficiency and leads to higher monthly bills.
  • Extended equipment life. Over time, these many small problems that your furnace develops could cause the system to prematurely break down. Regular tune–ups can help extend the life of your furnace so that it can operate as long as possible.

Many homeowners fail to realize that their furnaces actually work hard throughout the hottest time of the year as well as the coldest. All summer long your furnace works with your outdoor condenser and coils in order to force cool, comfortable air throughout your home. This is precisely why routine maintenance, including a thorough inspection, tune–up and filter change, is so important prior to the heating season. Take care of your furnace before you need it most this winter.

BellPlumbing
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