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Homeowners in McKinney, TX, do a lot to prepare their homes for cold weather during the winter months. Routine household maintenance should always include plumbing service inspections. It may seem like problems occur more frequently during winter. This may be the case, but we tend to notice and remember problems that cause a lot of inconvenience for us. Plumbing problems in winter may be harder to deal with. Increased stress on plumbing fixtures and pipes can also push minor issues into larger problems. Look for signs of potential damage before it has a chance to escalate.
Leaks and Water Stains
Leaks can cause yellowish or dark brown watermarks and stains on ceilings and walls. Aging pipes and valves experience wear and tear. Flaking and dimpling occur due to corrosion from water with a high acid content. Consult a plumbing service provider to inspect your plumbing, find the leak, and perform repairs. An inspection is also an opportunity to identify weak areas and prevent potential problems.
Don’t forget about outdoor hoses and plumbing fixtures. Empty hoses of all residual water then disconnect and store them for next year. Many hoses are susceptible to damage during cold weather. Lawns usually don’t need to be watered as often during the winter. You can save a lot of water by resetting sprinkler systems so they don’t turn on automatically. Think about insulating your outdoor faucets to reduce the risk of water damage. You can try a store-bought kit or include this task in plumbing services.
Checking the water heater is an essential task because hot water use increases as temperatures drop. Taking a cold shower during the coldest part of the year isn’t any fun at all. Water heaters are frequently installed in basements and other out-of-the-way places where they’re out of sight and out of mind. This means we may not think about potential problems until the effects are obvious.
The most obvious sign is a complete lack of hot water. It could indicate that the heating element in an electric heater or the pilot light in a gas-powered heater aren’t working. However, there are plenty of other things that could interrupt water heater operation. Erratic water temperatures and insufficient hot water are also a common problem. People usually notice these problems fairly quickly too, especially when they occur during a shower.
Adjusting Water Temperature
Cold outdoor temperatures can force your water heater to work harder to keep your water at preferred temperatures. Hot water has to travel through pipes before reaching fixtures such as faucets and showerheads. Water loses heat during this journey, so many households compensate by turning up the thermostat on their water heaters by a few degrees. Always use caution when you turn up the heat so water can’t reach scalding temperatures. You can also ask for help adjusting the temperature during routine plumbing service visits.
Make sure to have the water heater tank flushed and cleaned at least once per year. Flushing removes sediment that may accumulate within the tank. Although sediment builds up throughout the year, it tends to be heaviest during winter months because of increased hot water use. Sediment usually isn’t a health concern, but it can increase corrosion of your tank. A clean tank can also increase the efficiency of your appliance.
Many hot water heaters contain anode rods that inhibit rust. Rods are made of zinc, magnesium, or aluminum wrapped around steel cores. The rods react with other minerals to prevent damage to the tank. Inspect anode rods every 2 to 3 months. Most rods last between 3 to 5 years, but corroded rods should be replaced as soon as possible. Rust-colored water is a sign of corrosion. Consult plumbing services in a timely manner if you notice rust so it doesn’t eat through the tank and cause leaks.
If you have appropriate knowledge and know what you’re looking for, you can check the pressure valves. Many homeowners in McKinney, TX, aren’t familiar with pressure valves, so this task can be left to professional plumbing services. Pressure valves are important because they’re safeguards to prevent tanks from bursting or leaking.
Noises and Odors
Strange odors and noises from a water heater are also signs of a problem. Excessive sediment or mineral scaling on heating elements can produce strange noises such as rumbling or banging. This may occur if sediment in the tank has hardened. A foul smell similar to rotten eggs can be a sign of sulfur or bacteria in the water.
You should arrange plumbing services immediately if you notice an odor. Although sulfur affects the taste and smell of water, bacterial growth is a health risk. You can see if the problem is isolated to the hot water heater or something else in the plumbing by comparing hot and cold water. If you only notice problems with hot water, then the water heater is likely at fault.
Repair or Replacement
No water heater should leak. Leaks may be a sign of a larger problem, so it’s best to contact professional plumbing services instead of attempting temporary DIY repairs. It’s impossible to predict when a leak might expand. A faulty or damaged tank can also release a lot of water at once and may cause extensive damage.
Sometimes repairs aren’t feasible and the water heater needs to be replaced. Check manufacturer guides to see the potential lifespan of your appliance. The serial number can help you figure out the age of your appliance. Lifespans anticipated by the manufacturer are estimates. Many factors, such as maintenance and usage, influence the actual lifespan. As a general rule, you should compare repair and replacement if your hot water heater is over 10 years old.
bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of Northeast Dallas provides plumbing services throughout McKinney, TX. The licensed and experienced plumbers at Bluefrog are well versed in plumbing repairs and upgrades. They can help you prepare your home to stay comfortable and safe during cold winter months.