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Easy Ways to Prepare your Home for a Harsh Winter

Canadians know that winter is not a walk in the park. The season can come as early as October and stretch into the beginning of May. The temperatures can plunge well below zero and the snowstorms can be devastating, making everyone sit inside their homes and hope for warmer weather.

Meteorologists at Global News predict that 2019’s winter weather will have colder temperatures than normal for most of the season until it eventually becomes milder in March. Predictions can always be wrong, but it’s better to heed these warnings now than be sorry to have ignored them completely. So, it’s the opportune time to prepare your property for a harsh winter.

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Add Insulation To Walls

Your thermostat will not be as effective when your house is poorly insulated. Turning the temperature up higher will only do so much if the frosty air keeps pushing its way into your rooms. One of the best ways to protect your home from invasive cold air is insulating the walls and ceiling spaces of the house. 

Your home probably has insulation in the walls of the main floor. Spaces that aren’t designed to accommodate bedrooms will likely be missing insulation, like attics and basements. Home experts recommend that you insulate your attic to prevent heat loss during the winter — heat rises, so you will want to trap it from escaping from the top floor of the house.

Putting more insulation in your attic will stop ice dams from growing — this is when ice forms on the edge of your roof and blocks melted snow from dripping off the slope so that water pools beneath the shingles. The common winter problem can lead to expensive water damage after leaks make their way through the roof and exterior walls. 

You should also add insulation to your basements because it will give your plumbing some much-needed protection from the cold. Frozen pipes are a popular plumbing problem during the winter, but you can avoid it by taking the right precautions.

Prepare Your Pipes

Pipes are one of the top features you have to insulate because they can freeze over when the temperature outside dips below freezing. The areas that are most vulnerable are close to the home’s exterior or they have inadequate insulation like basements, crawlspaces, laundry rooms and garages.

The easiest way to stop frozen pipes is to go to a home hardware store and buy tubes of foam insulation with sealing strips on the interior. Wrap them around any exposed cold-water pipes and seal them tight. To cover awkward corners and joints, cut the tubing with scissors to the appropriate size and tape them shut. The shopping and the application process should only take a few hours of your time.

Forgetting this type of insulation could mean that you wake up one day to turn on the tap and find that nothing comes out of the faucet. Last year during the winter holidays, a cold snap caused hundreds of cases of frozen pipes and complaints of no water all over the city of Toronto. An official from Toronto Water said that the organization received a shocking total of 112 calls in three days.

The frustration of dealing with frozen pipes may not be enough of a motivator to buy and apply insulation. You should also know that ignoring frozen pipes can lead to big disasters. When a pipe freezes, the ice inside of it expands and builds pressure inside of the pipe. The pressure builds up until the material breaks, spilling its contents out onto the floor.

If a pipe bursts in your house, you will need to turn off the house’s water supply and call emergency plumbing services in Toronto for help right away. Shutting off the supply valve will limit the amount of water the pipe will gush out. The valve is often situated in your basement close to the water heater. Turn it clockwise until it is firmly off and leave it that way until the professional plumber gives you the all-clear. You can also turn on nearby sink faucets to relieve pressure sitting in the pipes.

We are drain repair experts in Toronto so we can help fix or replace any of your pipes that have burst open after freezing. Trying to patch up a leak on your own is not a wise decision. Doing a poor job could result in an additional disaster the moment that you turn the water supply valve back on. 

A burst pipe can send gallons of water out into your house. If no one is home when the rapture happens, you want to make sure that there are flood prevention measures in place that can reduce the damage. A good-quality sump pump will redirect water pooling in your basement away from the premises.

A clear floor drain will also deal with water flooding on the basement floor — the importance of drain cleaning can save your property from structural damage in some situations. A large obstruction in the floor drain will sabotage its flood preventing capabilities. 

Check Your Water Heater

The average person won’t appreciate their water heater until it stops working in the middle of winter. They will get ready to step into the shower first thing in the morning and then jump out the moment that their skin feels the icy water coming out of the showerhead. No matter how high they push the tap closer to the “hot” label, the water still feels too frigid to endure. 

A water heater doesn’t have to break down in the middle of a cold snap to be an inconvenience. Having inconsistent results can be just as frustrating. You don’t want to spend your shower-time speedily washing your hair because the water could run cold at any second. During this time of year, you want your water to help you deal with the frigid temperatures — not to make the situation worse. 

There are warning signs of a failing water heater other than frigid or inconsistent tap water that you should look for before the weather gets too harsh. Hearing rumbling or banging noises as the water heats up is not a good sign. The sounds are from a build-up of sediment in the tank. When sediment covers the bottom of the tank, the appliance becomes less efficient and takes longer to heat up.

Water heaters in Toronto can suffer from this problem because Toronto water is moderately hard and contains a high percentage of calcium carbonate. The mineral deposits can create scale inside of home plumbing. Sadly, the mineral deposits can make the life expectancy of water heaters shorter than usual.

Another sign that you need to check on your water heater this winter is that you’ve had it for a long time. The average water heater is supposed to last for a decade before it starts to break down.

If you’re not sure when the appliance was installed, look at the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker. The first letter in the serial number should stand for the month represented in alphabetical order — this means “A” is January, “B” is February, “C” is March and so on. The following numbers should tell you the year it was made. If this seems confusing, go to the manufacturer’s website or call the company to get a better idea of your heater’s age.

Finally, if you spot a puddle of water around your water heater, you need to get it checked out by a professional. There are several reasons for water heater leaks that require simple repairs or part replacements like a failing drain valve or defective supply tubes. The worst reason behind the leaked water on the floor is a cracked or ruptured water heater tank. When this happens, you can’t get a simple patch-up job from a plumber. You will need to get the entire appliance replaced and ready to work as soon as possible.

You can call us to help you make any last-minute improvements to your plumbing so that your house is ready to endure the winter weather. We can replace your broken-down water heater so that you can enjoy a shower without shivering under the stream. We can install sump-pumps and clear drains to protect you from basement flooding. We can show up in a flash to respond to a burst pipe to make the emergency repair and limit the damage.

Look through our testimonials to discover what our customers have to say about the quality of their experience and the price of the plumbing services. Out of all of the customer reviews we received, we have been rated 4.9 stars out of a total 5 stars. Read through the comments to see if their inquiries and services match what you’re looking for right now.

Winter can be unpleasant because of the weather. It will be easier to get through when your walls are well-insulated, your pipes are running smoothly and your water heater is in top condition. When you don’t have huge problems with your home features, the season won’t feel as long or tough.

how to keep outside pipes from freezing

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