Winter can be harsh on your home’s plumbing systems, particularly in locations where the temperature gets down to near-freezing or below. That’s why it’s important to make the necessary preparations ahead of time to ensure your plumbing is protected from the cold.
Gutters and downpipes
Gutters and downpipes are your roof’s plumbing system. They channel excess water off your roof and either into rainwater tanks or away from your home. But if they are blocked with debris such as twigs, leaves and dirt, they will overflow and damage your home, allowing water into your ceilings and basement. Therefore cleaning out and repairing gutters and downpipes prior to winter is a vital part of your preparation. Installing gutter guards is also a good second line of defence.
Hot water system
You don’t want to lose your hot water over winter, as there’s nothing worse than a cold shower on a freezing cold day. So autumn is a good time to have your plumber check your hot water system over thoroughly. Things they will usually check include pipes, seals and thermostats and, because of the hot water involved, the job should only be carried out by a licensed professional.
Air conditioners and pumps
Appliances such as air conditioners and pumps which reside outside your home need to be weather-proofed for winter as well. They contain plumbing which could freeze in the cold and cause a lot of damage to the appliance, so any water in their pipes should be drained, all exposed pipes should be well insulated and the appliances should be covered with tarpaulins to protect them from the elements.
Leaking water pipes can become a huge problem during winter when the temperature plummets, so the time to find and fix any water leaks is before winter arrives. Check all pipes in walls and basements, have any leaks you find repaired by a plumber and apply foam insulation to those pipes which will be exposed to the cold.
Outdoor piping such as back yard taps and reticulation systems will also need to be prepared for winter. Drain all water from them and wrap pipes in insulation as required.
Obviously if you live in a country such as Australia, you probably won’t experience the sub-zero temperatures like those of winters in Europe and North America. But winter down under can still entail freezing cold wind, rain and in some areas snow, so protecting your plumbing in any way you can is always a wise thing to do before winter.