We know it sounds crazy, but winter is right around the corner with all these hot days that seem to be getting hotter, but if you have lived in Montana long enough you probably know that in most cases that in a blink of an eye there is frost on the ground and snow flying through the air!  We love our four seasons here in Montana but if you are a homeowner it is very important to do some preventative maintenance to your residence to avoid some potential plumbing disasters, especially when it gets into those negative temperatures!  So before you make that hot cocoa and sit down by your fireplace to relax with your book, make sure the plumbing in your home is ready for the winter!   

We have said this before and will continue to say it, knowledge is power! The biggest money saver when owning your own home is educating yourself on the in’s and outs of your house, find a licensed plumber you trust to help you service your plumbing regularly so you can catch any issues while they are still minor ones.  By doing this, you are ensuring that you are taking the right steps to prevent any major plumbing disasters that can empty your pocket book quickly.

Unfortunately, plumbing issues are one of those things that can add up very quickly but Modern Plumbing and Heating doesn’t want that to happen to you, so let’s make sure those plumbing issues stay small! One of the biggest problems your plumbing will face during the winter is frozen pipes. As water sits in the pipes, especially ones outdoors, it can freeze due to low temperatures and poor insulation causing them to burst, creating small leaks to even flooding! By checking your plumbing before the weather gets too cold, you can prevent frozen pipes, so make sure to follow these few tips.

If your Montana home is your second home and you leave for the winter, make sure you call a licensed plumber and get it winterized before you leave.  This process prepares the plumbing system and components to not be affected by extreme temperatures and in turn, not allowing your pipes to freeze. The process should be performed when a house is expected to be vacant through the winter and when done correctly, the house can now safely sit empty with no heat in the coldest of winters.  The process of winterizing involves fully removing the home’s plumbing system of water, which includes emptying the water heater, draining all of the piping, and filling the various fixtures with an anti-freeze solution. If your a homeowner that likes to leave the heat on while your are away, be careful because if your heating system fails you could run into some much bigger problems then just no heat.

Don’t forget about your outdoor plumbing too!  Your hose bibs and outdoor faucets must be drained and protected. If your home has a dedicated shut-off valve for outdoor plumbing systems, turn it off and then drain any remaining water in the line but If your home does not have a shut-off valve, be sure to insulate the hose bibs and faucets with foam covers.  Don’t forget about your sprinkler system, those pipes can freeze and burst too. In fact, because they are typically constructed of PVC piping, they are more prone to freezing damage than metal pipes. Prevent these potential pipe leaks by turning off the water to the system and then flushing out any remaining water by turning on each sprinkler valve.

Check all of the faucets in your kitchen, bathrooms and utility room for drips and puddles. If you have a leaky faucet, contact your licensed plumber to get your pipes back in tip-top shape.  The tiniest pipe leak can turn into a much bigger problem once the water freezes inside. Cracks can become more significant, and the damage can spread to the surrounding pipes. By repairing plumbing leaks before winter temperatures arrive, you can save your pipes, and your budget from more expensive repairs later on.

At one time you may have heard or been told that during the really cold temperatures, keep your faucet dripping so your water lines don’t freeze. The reasoning behind this theory is that with water constantly flowing through your water lines, your lines shouldn’t freeze.  To a point this is true, especially if your home is prone to freeze-ups.  What you may not know is that a dripping faucet in cold weather could be your next big nightmare. Sure, it may be keeping your water lines from freezing, but it could be causing an even bigger problem, freezing up your sewer lines!  Obviously, the longer the sewer line, the better the chance the water will freeze. If the slow drip continues building up ice for an extended period of time, a frozen sewer pipe is inevitable. You’d be better off to do laundry or dishes during cold snaps, than to let the water trickle.

Lastly, there is nothing quite as enjoyable as stepping into a hot shower after coming in from cold weather but unfortunately, on demand water heater and boiler maintenance is hugely underestimated. It’s incredibly important that the heat exchangers are cleaned and all working components are tested on an annual basis to ensure proper operations. We recommend doing this before the coldest temperatures arrive so that you aren’t stuck with a water heater or heat failure in the middle of winter.

Here at Modern Plumbing and Heating, we love our customers!  However, we really don’t want to see you under emergency circumstances. That’s why our goal is to educate you, catch the issues while they are small and inexpensive fixes.  Contact us today at 406-212-7737 or visit us on our website at www.modernplumbers.com.  We hope you give us the opportunity to be your trusted plumber and help you avoid costly plumbing and pipe leaks this winter and ensure you a cozy home that’s ready for the holiday festivities!