Yes, even in Los Angeles.
Living in the land of fun and sun, winter’s colder temperatures seldom cross the mind of most Los Angeles homeowners. Still, even in sunny SoCal, overnight temperatures can, and do, dip below freezing. And cold weather and winter storms can create problems with your home’s plumbing. So here are a few tips to prepare your plumbing for winter and avoid creating an even bigger plumbing emergency.
Prevent pipes from freezing
First, insulate exposed pipes, particularly in less heated or unheated areas such as your garage, attic or crawlspace. You can use pre-slit foam or rubber pipe insulation. Heat cables can also detect pipe temperature and automatically turn on the heat if the temperature drops too low.
Second, disconnect hoses and sprinklers from outdoor faucets, fully drain and cover them with insulating foam covers.
If you are getting your home ready for a winter vacation, turn down your heat to conserve energy but do not turn it completely off. Set your thermostat between 50 and 60 degrees to kick on the heat if the temperature drops while you’re gone.
Lastly, if you have, or suspect you have, a plumbing leak, get it repaired by a trusted, professional plumber. As frozen water expands, pressure increases, so even a tiny crack can cause a pipe to burst.
Test your sump pump
Besides colder temperatures, winter in Los Angeles also brings the kind of intense rain storms that can cause home flooding. One of the best ways to combat the potential for storm water damage to your home is a sump pump.
As water flows into the sump pit, the sump pump pumps the water away from basements and crawl spaces where rain water collects. But it only helps if it’s working properly, so be sure to test your sump pump before the rainy season. Or call a licensed plumber for sump pump service, including testing, maintenance and, when necessary, installation or replacement.
Drain and insulate water heaters
The colder it gets outside, the harder your water heater works to heat your water inside. One way to keep your water heater running at peak efficiency is to drain it. Doing this at least once a year rids the tank of any built up sediment that can corrode the tank. Both tankless water heaters and traditional boilers can also benefit from “descaling,” a process which involves not only draining the water but also scrubbing and rinsing the system.
Of course, if you choose to hire a local plumber (like us!) to handle water heater maintenance, we’ll not only clean out the system, we’ll also inspect and replace the anode rode, check the pressure release valve, detect leaks and fix problems to keep the hot water flowing for those cherished hot showers and baths, especially during the winter months.
In addition, insulate older water heaters, along with any connecting pipes, to reduce heat loss. This will not only prevent freezing but will also improve energy efficiency and extend the life of your water heater.
And don’t worry, if you’d rather not prepare your plumbing for winter by yourself, call Superheroes Plumbing & Rooter. We’re here for you 24/7 to provide same-day plumbing service to the greater Los Angeles area.