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Don’t Forget to Winterize Your Outdoor Faucet

Don’t Forget to Winterize Your Outdoor Faucet

Outdoor faucets save time and energy in the summer and give you fresh water at your fingertips for watering the garden or filling the pool. They typically do not require maintenance or care during the summer, which makes them easy to forget when cold weather rolls around. Forgetting to winterize your outside faucet in the fall can result in broken faucets, burst pipes and a watery mess to contend with when you try to use them in the spring. How you winterize them depends on the type of faucet you have. Traditional Outside Faucets If you have an older home you probably have a traditional outside faucet that requires shutting down and draining the plumbing line before cold weather strikes. Here’s what you need to do to winterize a traditional faucet: Disconnect your garden hose. Not only will your hose freeze during cold weather, a frozen garden hose can also encourage ice to back up in your water line. Locate the shutoff valve inside the home and turn it off. The shutoff valve is typically a red lever, but it may be a wheel. It is often located in the basement near the ceiling close to the outside faucet, but might be located beside the main water valve to the rest of your plumbing. If your shutoff valves are not labeled, this is a good time to label them. Open the outside faucet. Water might run out of the faucet, but don’t let this fool you. You are not finished draining the plumbing, yet. Locate the bleeder cap in the plumbing line leading to the outside faucet. The bleeder cap looks like...
Make Sure Your Pipes Are Ready For Winter

Make Sure Your Pipes Are Ready For Winter

The onset of winter weather can take us by surprise. One day we are enjoying a crisp, cool fall day and suddenly the overnight temperatures have plunged to below freezing. Don’t wait until the thermometer dips to record overnight lows. Get your home ready for winter now and avoid expensive plumbing problems later. Insulate Your Pipes Insulate pipes in the unheated areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces and garages. Use insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. Measuring the outside diameter of your pipes will ensure that you choose the right size of tubing. Take special care with pipes that have been recently repaired or have frozen in previous winters as they are the most likely to freeze in the future. In northern and Midwestern locations that experience long, frigid winters, consider adding heat tape to your insulation plan. Be sure to check and follow the manufacturer’s directions to avoid doing damage. Cut Cold Air Off at the Source Exposure to freezing air can quickly cause pipes to freeze. Sealing exterior cracks in the foundation and fixing broken basement windows will block the winter air from reaching the interior of your home. Homes with ventilated crawl spaces are also at risk for frozen pipes. Use thick cardboard and duct tape to cover vents and block frigid air from reaching your home’s water supply pipes. Become a Weather Watcher As cold weather approaches, keep an eye on the evening forecasts. Water pipes are most likely to freeze when outside temperatures reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Even if you have taken the above-listed precautions, you can never be too careful. Most people think frozen...
Modern Plumbing Helps Prevent Spread of Diseases

Modern Plumbing Helps Prevent Spread of Diseases

It is hard for us to imagine a scenario where we go to the kitchen sink, turn the faucet and do not have access to clear, clean water. It is even more difficult to imagine spending a significant portion of each day searching for water and carrying it back to our homes for cooking, bathing and drinking. But more than 750 million people in the world do not need to use their imagination to envision this; it is their daily reality. Keep reading to find out how important access to clean water is in staying healthy. Better Public Sanitation = Better Public Health Before the rise of public sanitation through modern plumbing methods, disease was rampant in the world’s crowded cities. Indoor bathroom facilities consisted of a simple washstand and a chamber pot for daily elimination needs. The contents of the chamber port were generally tossed out into the street where people, animals and vermin lived, spreading disease. Diseases such as Polio thrive in fecal matter and are easily transmitted from person to person once contracted. Historically, urban areas witnessed a drastic decline in the spread of Polio once sanitation systems were in place thus eliminating the source of infection. In the 1800’s, the growing city of London had little water infrastructure. Waste was disposed of into areas known as cesspools in the Thames River, which also served as the city’s source of drinking water. The city experienced infant mortality rates that jumped between 25 and 70 percent as well as high rates of cholera. Cholera spreads quickly through contaminated water and is very deadly. The disease usually claims its victim within 24 hours of the first appearance of...