A leaking pipe? A backed-up drain? No hot water?

Plumbing problems like these are never fun to deal with during any time of year. So imagine having to suffer through plumbing problems in the bitter cold of a Massachusetts winter.

Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone works to make sure that Haverhill homes have pipes and drains that are clear of plumbing issues. Don’t find yourself dealing with broken pipes, a failing water heater or overflowing drains.

Use these 5 Winter Plumbing Tips to keep things flowing this winter, and all year long.

1. Let faucets drip to prevent frozen pipes

High water pressure and freezing temperatures can quickly lead to frozen pipes. This common winter problem, if left undetected, could end in broken pipes.

Noticing sudden light water flow from your shower or sinks? This can be a sign that your pipes are starting to freeze.

Don’t rush to call out a plumber for faucet or pipe replacement just yet. There’s an easy way to stop freezing pipes in their tracks. Leave a faucet on very low, so that the water is trickling out.

This trickle of water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing, especially those on an outside wall. Apply heat to the pipes that might be frozen. A hair dryer can help safely supply the right amount of heat.

If the water continues to flow shorter than normal, or you just want to have your pipes more thoroughly checked, the pros at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone can lend a hand.

2. Keep drains clean from grease or other clogs

If water gets stuck in pipes due to clogs, that can increase the chances of freezing and bursting pipes.

A little common sense now will save you from troubles later. Pouring oils, grease, or even coffee grounds down your sink can increase the chances of clogs. The same goes for any drain in your home.

Over time, these clog-makers get caked up in your pipes, coating the sides since their consistency makes it harder for water to wash away the buildup. Before long, a clog is ready to cause problems.

Think you might already be facing clogged pipes? Andrew DiPietro’s Comfort Zone drain cleaning and drainpipe replacement services will keep your pipes clean.

3. Put the outdoor hose away

Unless you think you might need to do some gardening on a Haverhill February weekend, it’s probably best to pack away your garden hose until warmer weather returns.

Leaving a hose connected outside in winter can cause water left inside to freeze and expand, freezing your faucets and connecting pipes as well.

4. Keep your pipes under wraps

Everyone likes a warm blanket during the winter. Why should your external pipes be any different?

You can protect your pipes with insulation wrapping as early as the fall. But even if you’ve waited until winter, protecting outside pipes will help prevent or reduce the chances of freezing in extreme conditions.

5. Don’t set your water heater too high

If you’re finding it’s taking your water too long to heat up in the winter, it might be because your water heater temperature is set too high.

That might seem backwards, but when you set the temperature gauge too high on the water heater, it can have problems keeping up in the cold weather. Never set the water heater higher than 140 degrees.

Set lower than that, but still suffering from hot water issues? Let the team at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone take a look and help you determine if there are issues in either your pipes or with your water heater.

But what happens if your pipes do freeze?

Followed the checklist and still dealing with frozen pipes? Don’t panic.

Before your pipes burst, follow these steps before a bad situation gets worse:

  • If the faucets are on nothing comes out, DO leave them on and call a plumber.
  • DO use a hair dryer to start warming the pipe. Begin as close to the faucet as possible, and work toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • DON’T use a torch or other open flame to try to thaw a pipe.
  • DON’T use electrical appliances anywhere with standing water. You could be electrocuted.

If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house and leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it should they need to.

Don’t wait until a pipe or drain emergency leaves you shivering in the cold. The plumbing professionals at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone can offer further ideas to prevent problems this winter. Give them a call at 978-872-1190 to learn more about their services or set up a consultation appointment online.