How Can You Prevent Frozen Pipes in Winter?

Frozen pipes are a disaster for any home. No matter how big and fancy your home is, if your pipes freeze, there’s a high chance they’ll burst and end up flooding your house. So, how can you prevent frozen pipes in winter? There are lots of creative solutions that we’re happy to share with you.

Leave Bathroom Doors Open

The first thing you should do when winter approaches is keep your bathroom doors open – unless you’re using them of course. When the bathroom isn’t in use, keeping the doors open allows air flow. This isn’t strictly necessary if your bathroom has its own forced-air vent. However, it doesn’t hurt. If your bathroom doesn’t have its own forced-air vent or radiator, it can become much colder than the rest of the house if the doors are left shut. Allowing warm air to flow into the bathroom will ensure the pipes beneath the sink don’t freeze.

Leave Sink Cupboards Open

For the same reason, sink cupboards should be left open. This applies to anywhere with a sink above a cabinet. The bathroom sink, kitchen sink, and even a laundry room sink should have their cabinet doors left open. If there’s no other insulation keeping your pipes from freezing, allowing warm air into the cabinets may help.

Let the Sink Drip

While it may not be necessary if you’re still at home, when on vacation, leave the sinks to drip. Turning on each hot and cold tap in the house, just enough to allow it to drip, will aid in preventing pipe bursts. The water continues to move around, lowering the likelihood of freezing. Plus, the dripping helps to relieve pressure in the pipes. 

Keep Heat On

If you’re going somewhere else for vacation, don’t turn your heat off. This is important no matter what time of year you’re leaving. Always keep your heat set to at least 50 Fahrenheit when you’re traveling. Doing this keeps your home’s pipes warm enough to prevent freezing. Even during the fall or spring, if you leave with your heat off, a sudden drop in temperature could have you returning to a flooded house. A small amount of heating will cost a lot less than flood repairs.

Blanket Insulation

If your pipes are getting too cold, even with maximum airflow and keeping the heat on, it might be time to insulate your pipes. If you don’t have money to buy insulation, wrapping blankets or towels around your pipes is the way to go. It isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing. A nice, thick barrier between your pipe and the cold air may be just the trick. This applies to sink pipes under cabinets as well as pipes in the garage that may lead outdoors, such as to a spigot.

Styrofoam Insulation

If you do have the money for some dedicated insulation, buying styrofoam insulation for your pipes is easy. Check with your local hardware store and you’ll find there are dedicated styrofoam forms meant to fit over your exposed pipes. If there are long stretches of exposed pipe – perhaps in the garage – you might want to get some expanding spray foam insulation instead. This will last longer and be more effective than a styrofoam form.

If it’s too late and your pipes have burst, once the initial disaster is cleaned up, we’re more than happy to come out and fix your pipes. That’s what we’re here for! Give us a call at POM Plumbing if you need assistance with pipe repair in your home.

Dishwasher Maintenance You Didn’t Know Is Necessary

Dishwashers are one of those appliances that most people know how to turn on and not much else. They’re somewhat mysterious past their most basic use. However, did you know dishwashers require maintenance? Check out these types of dishwasher maintenance you’ve been completely ignoring.

The Food Trap

This is one of the most important parts of dishwasher maintenance – and one of the most ignored. Did you know you’re supposed to be emptying and cleaning the food trap in your dishwasher? It’s also known as the filter. You’ve certainly seen it before while loading dishes. At the base of the dishwasher basin, there should be a spot covered in mesh or a plastic strainer. This is where food bits collect and water drains. If you don’t wash your dishes completely free of food before loading them, your dishwasher’s food trap probably has a number of things collected in it by now.

The food trap in a dishwasher can be removed, then dumped into the trash and washed off in the sink. Keeping the filter free of food collection makes draining easier and keeps the dishwasher more sanitary. After all, do you really want the water circulating in your dishwasher to be running over month-old bits of food before being sprayed up onto your dishes? We didn’t think so.

The Door Seal

While door seal dishwasher maintenance isn’t strictly necessary for the dishwasher to function, it can help prevent the seal from breaking. Plus, it will also alert you to any damage in the seal before it gets bad enough to break or cause a leak.

If you want to maintain your dishwasher’s door seal, simply take a minute to wipe it down once a month. Ensuring no minerals or food particles are building up on it ensures it continues working its best.

The Sprayer

The sprayer in your dishwasher is one of the parts that are vital to its function. Wiping the sprayer down every once in a while is a key part of dishwasher maintenance. Not only can food remnants get onto the sprayer, making it less sanitary, it can also get blocked up with hard water. Take some time once a month to wipe the sprayer down with soapy water and check for blockages. If one of the holes is blocked with mineral buildup, use a sewing needle of other pointy object to clear the blockage. To prevent future blockages, you may want to consider investing in a water softening filtration system for your home’s water.

Run the Dishwasher

Last, but not least, keep running your dishwasher. Did you know a month of no use can lead to problems with your dishwasher? Similarly to a car’s motor, continued use is an important part of dishwasher maintenance. Plus, your dishwasher saves on water. Running your sink continuously to hand wash dishes – or even filling multiple sinks and leaving running water out of the equation – uses up more water than a modern dishwasher. Do yourself a favor and keep your dishwasher in use.