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Two Common Winter Plumbing and Heating Malfunctions, and How to Prevent Them

January 27th, 2016

We all know that in a northern city like ours, Philadelphia, where temperatures become frigid during the cold winter months, the need for emergency plumbing is inevitable. No worries, though! If something breaks in your home, from pipes to heating systems, you know we have you covered for a quick and efficient repair. But regardless of our expertise and ability to help you, issues are annoying, and prevention is ideal.

Here are two common malfunctions that tend to happen during the winter, and some steps you can take to reduce the chances of future failure:

Frozen Pipes
If your home plumbing isn’t winterized, bursting could easily occur, and when it does you’ll have a massive headache to deal with. When your pipes are exposed to cold air, and the water within them turns to ice, that freezing process will cause expansion, almost guaranteeing fractures.

One of the best ways to avoid breakage is to make sure insulation covers over any exposed areas. Also, never let your home get too cold in the winter, regardless of whether or not you’re there. Even If the temperature is well above freezing, the pipes could still dip below 32 degrees F. Once that happens, problems will begin to arise quickly. Don’t ever let your house drop under 60 degrees F and you should be safe.

Finally, since pipes along the edges of your house are most exposed to the ruthless outside temperatures, they’ll need to be treated with extra care. Don’t cut off heat’s access to those rooms. Keep the doors open. Periodically check to make sure those areas are warm enough, and if possible, check on the pipes. Get in touch with us if you have any other questions or concerns about these susceptible spaces.

Hot Water Failure
Now your pipes are in order and the chances of them freezing are low. Let’s get that hot water flowing, because there’s nothing like a steamy shower after being out in the cold! You run the faucet, give it a minute to heat up, and jump in. But oh no! The water is still freezing, and so is your morale. Your hot water system is broken.

This is something we obviously want to avoid, and a few simple steps can help assure that you won’t get into this type of situation.

The water heater probably isn’t on the forefront of your mind, until it breaks. An easy way to make sure it’s going to function properly through the winter is to simply check on it. How old is it? Here in an historic area like Philadelphia, where the houses are old, and emergency boiler service is pretty likely to be necessary, this first step is imperative. If your boiler looks like it was installed somewhere between Abe Lincoln’s presidency and WWII, let’s face it—it’s time for a replacement. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you need a new heating system, it’ll be smart to at least get an inspection done so we can diagnose impending issues, and fix them before matters get worse.

Winter is already in full swing, but it’s never too late to take preventative measures. If you think your house might be vulnerable to problems before the season ends, give us a call before it’s too late, then sit back, enjoy the winter and relax with peace of mind that your home is properly equipped to handle the cold weather.

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