It’s essential to keep all of the plumbing and drainage systems in and around your home working properly during winter. For us in Auckland, winter is wetter, colder and darker than any other time of year.
While we can’t control the weather, we can control how to feel warmer and drier. And there are things we can do to minimise the risk of being without heating or hot water during the winter.
1. Keep the house at a steady temperature
Rather than turning off all the heaters when you go to work, letting your internal temperature drop, and then cranking them all up again when you get home, consider keeping a couple of heaters on low during the day.
Make sure they are correctly and safely installed and operating. If you have a heat pump, set it to auto to keep the house at a steady heat. It’s more economical than turning it off and on, it will help keep your Auckland home dry, and it will reduce the risk of mould and mildew.
2. Keep the kitchen drain clear
Chances are you’re using your kitchen more in the winter – we tend to socialise less and keep the barbecue covered until it’s warm again. Make sure that any food scraps that go down the drain or the waste disposal are properly flushed down.
Any fat or grease that goes down the drain will likely harden faster in the winter, so make sure you run plenty of warm water down the drain after you prepare a meal and wash dishes.
3. Insulate your pipes in unheated areas
Cover any pipes you have in areas that are not insulated (the garage, attic, crawl space) with heat cable and pipe insulation.
4. Check for leaks
It’s a good time to make sure you don’t have any leaking pipes, faucets or tapware and that your hot water cylinder isn’t leaking. With the reduced sunlight and heat from the sun, water damage can become more serious in winter.
5. Clear gutters and eaves
Winter is the time of year when leaves and debris collect in gutters, eaves and drainpipes. Over time these can become excessively heavy and cause damage to your home. If you’re not comfortable checking and clearing out your gutters and eaves, give us a call and we can come out and do it for you.
6. Keep your drains clear
Once a week, or after every big storm, go around your property and check that your drains aren’t blocked full of leaves. During the winter, it’s more important than ever to make sure water is running off your property into the stormwater system effectively.
If you notice any area that isn’t draining properly, or you see large blockages or puddles after a storm, get in touch with us right away and we can detect whether there is a drainage issue.
7. Turn your water off
If you’re going away for a few days or more, turn the water off at the mains. If you live somewhere prone to pipes freezing, turning the water off will reduce the risk of frozen pipes. You’ll also minimise the risk of any water leaks or damage while you’re away.
8. Seal around rim joists
Cold air from the outside can come in through cracks or holes around rim joists. Seal these up using expandable foam and then insulate between the floor joists.
9. Prevent frozen pipes
Frozen pipes cause havoc when they contain water in them that freezes and then causes the pipes to burst. You can avoid this by draining your outdoor pipes. Open the faucet and then open the bleeder cap on the faucet shutoff valve to drain water out of the pipe.
10. Disconnect outdoor hoses
Chances are you won’t need your outdoor hoses during winter. Disconnect all hoses from their faucets, drain them and then store them away for winter. Any hose left outside could freeze if temperatures drop low enough. If the hose is still connected to a faucet, ice can back up into the pipe and cause the pipe to crack.
11. Insulate your garage door
If you have water lines in your garage, insulate the garage door. You may also want to put a portable heater in the garage, or use heat cable and pipe insulation.
Every home is different and every house needs different things to make it through the winter warm and dry. We can come out and do a thorough winter plumbing check, looking for ways to make your heating and water use more economical during the winter, and checking that there are no leaks in your pipes or plumbing.
Don’t let winter weather get you down. Keep your home dry and warm during the winter by getting our Auckland plumbers to support you in any way we can.