While the Emerald City isn’t known for the chilling temperatures that are common in the MidWest, there is always a chance of damage to your plumbing, if you’re not careful, when the weather gets colder. Longer, deeper freezes that last weeks are almost unheard of here, but that’s not what you need to worry about. The quick overnight freezes or ice storms that come as a surprise are where you can run into trouble if you’re unprepared. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips, courtesy of the Seattle Plumber’s at PriceBusters’ Plumbing, to ensure your home is protected from the typical winter plumbing hazards in Seattle.
Outdoor Faucets and Sprinkler Lines
These are the two most likely casualties of an overnight freeze in Seattle. While you might not suffer catastrophic damage to an outdoor faucet, you could damage rubber seals and washers, which will cause leaks. Sprinkler lines, on the other hand, are more than likely to freeze and burst in the event of an overnight freeze simply because they’re not deep within the ground and thus insulated.
Here’s what to do to protect these plumbing components from the damage of a quick overnight freeze –
- Located and shut off your main outdoor valve
- Drain any water left in hoses or outdoor faucets
- Place the insulated cover on faucets
- Turn off water to the sprinkler system
- Detach sprinkler heads, timers, or any other lawn irrigation equipment
- Open sprinkler backflow valves to drain excess water
- Remove any temporary sprinkler lines or installations and cover permanent lines with insulation
Exterior Pipes and Secondary Buildings
This is another common area for damage with Seattle overnight freezes. If you have pipes that are outside your house, on the exterior of the building or leading to secondary buildings on your property, make sure to pay attention when the weather starts to get colder. Sheds, studios, garages, pools – anything with plumbing that is unheated or used less frequently in the winter should be fortified against the cold. Here’s how –
- Shut off water to all exterior pipes and buildings at the water main.
- Open any and all faucets outside or in the building to allow excess water to escape.
- If you can’t shut off the water, you must pay attention and try to keep the building or water-heated if possible.
- If you’re not able to keep the building or pipe heated, make sure to insulate your pipes, which should be a part of your annual home maintenance.
Gutters and Drainage Issues
Gutters and drains have the chance of overflowing during heavy rains, which can obviously cause all sorts of damage depending on the layout of your home. When these systems freeze, there is an even greater chance of an overflow. Here’s what to do with your gutter and drainage systems during the colder winter months in Seattle.
- Clean gutters and drains as often as you can, remove snow buildup as often as needed.
- Choose the right guttering, seamless systems are much less prone to leakage.
- Don’t wait until it’s cold. Fortify gutters and drains on dryer days, and make sure to check your foundation for grade requirements to ensure your draining water properly. If you’re not sure about your area’s grade requirements, check with your local Seattle plumber.
The Side Sewer
Homeowners are in a unique situation with respect to their side sewer, which is your property to the main city line. In Seattle, if there is damage to your side sewer, it’s the responsibility of the homeowner, as opposed to other cities where the city is responsible for that length of pipe. As such, it’s crucial to ensure that your sewer is clean and draining properly at all times of year but especially in the colder months. With the rapid root growth that we’re used to in the PNW, sewers damage is a lot more common than other areas.
- Consider sewer and drain cleaning, especially if it’s been a few years.
- If you’re not sure if you even need a cleaning, you might want to at least get them looked at. Camera sewer inspection is a non-invasive way of exploring any damage or blockage in your sewer.
- If necessary, opt for a trenchless sewer repair. Price Buster’s plumbing offers trenchless sewer repair and is able to handle all sorts of repairs.
There you have it. Winter plumbing hazards in Seattle are less frequent and often less serious than in other parts of the state. Make sure to pay attention to the problem areas we listed above and if you’re worried about specific plumbing when the weather gets colder, make sure to contact Price Buster’s plumbing in Seattle!
Last update of the article: 05/25/2020.