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Many homeowners know what they need to do to winterize the inside of their home, including insulating pipes, having a plumbing service check out the interior drains and pipes for leaks and weak spots, and taking precautions to keep water running overnight to prevent a frozen pipe. However, one place that often gets overlooked is the outdoor drains around the property. Have you checked your drains? Are you ready for Old Man Winter this year? If you haven’t scheduled your preventative maintenance plumbing service from bluefrog Plumbing + Drain yet, it’s time to make sure that you’re prepared to avoid a plumbing emergency.
The Effects of Winter on Your Drains
Cold weather can affect your home in a variety of ways and protecting your outdoor drains before winter weather hits can help prevent clogged pipes both outside the home and inside. Cold weather can also affect the drains inside your home. If snow and ice accumulate in the outside drains, it can create a clog, which can back up the entire drainage from your house. Blockages in the outside drains affect every room in your home that has water, causing backups in showers, tubs, and sinks, too.
A blocked outside drain can lead to significant damage to your lawn and landscape, too. The accumulation of water from the clogs and blockages can kill the grass or create soft spots in your yard. If you’ve invested in landscaping, then all that money would be wasted. Choosing the right plumbing service to inspect your outside drains and help you with coverage and winterization protects your yard from developing soft patches.
Inspecting Outdoor Watering Systems
Check your outdoor drains for obvious signs of blockage, including leaves and debris. Sometimes, these can get into the drain and lead to clogs. Clogged drains outside may put excess pressure on your pipes and cause the pipes to burst. This, in turn, can flood your yard and make a big mess. Tree roots are also a common issue with blocking outdoor drains – if you have trees on your property, it’s important to have a professional plumbing service take a look to see if the rot system is interfering with the outside drains.
Some homes may have one or more inspection or drain cleanout portals near the home or by the street, and these, too, should be part of your outdoor drain inspection. The location will depend on how your yard is set up for water drainage. If you aren’t sure if you have one of these, or you’re not sure if it’s on your property, your local plumbing service or a representative from your city’s water and sewer department can help. For example, if you run water through your hose and into your yard drain, you should be able to spot the water flowing through the inspection portal and into the storm drain or sewer. However, if you don’t see the flow of water, this can indicate a problem with your outdoor pipes and drain systems, such as clogged pipes, tree root interference, or broken pipes. Your plumbing service can tell you for sure.
Other things to look for are broken or damaged sprinkler heads, as these can leak into your yard if they’re damaged. Sprinkler heads can also freeze and burst, or they may have been run over with a lawnmower in the summer. Checking the sprinklers, soaker hoses, and other outdoor irrigation systems that empty into your outside drains can help prevent a plumbing issue.
Protect Your Outdoor Drains from Winter
Make sure that all of your outdoor plumbing is clear of water before winter hits. Drain the hoses, pipes, and spigots, and make sure that nothing is flowing into the outdoor drain. This keeps the drain from freezing, plus prevents pipes from bursting if the water inside freezes. If your house has interior shut-off valves for the outside faucets, turn them off to ensure that no water is getting into those pipes and faucets. By completely draining your pipes, you reduce the risk of a costly repair.
Once you’ve drained all the water from your outdoor plumbing, then it’s time to take care of the outside drains. The best way to prevent blockages is to cover and conceal the drains. Snow can get in, and then freeze, which damages the drains. By covering the drains securely, you’ll prevent snow and other winter debris from accumulating in them.
Insulating Outdoor Faucets
No matter what kind of hose you have, it’s important to remove it from outside spigots. Also, while some faucets are created as “freeze-proof”, they aren’t always, and it’s important to install facet covers just in case. Insulated covers can protect your spigots from freezing and prevent water from getting into the pipes or drains, and freezing, possibly causing them to burst.
Clearing Clogs from Outdoor Drains
Removing clogs from outdoor pipes can keep your outside drains form backing up and the pipes from bursting. It’s recommended to have your pipes inspected regularly, about once a year, and clogs professionally removed. If you do have trees on your property, it’s important to make sure that the roots aren’t clogging your pies and outdoor drains. A plumbing service can use a snake or a hydro-jetting tool to manually remove the clogs, dirt, and other debris from your pipes. These types of services are ones that you should call a plumbing service for, as they’ll have the specialized tools to remove the clogs and small cameras to inspect the length of your pipes and outdoor drains.
Call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain Today!
Don’t let the first cold snap of winter take your home by surprise. The experts at your local bluefrog Plumbing + Drain can help you winterize your home, with preventative maintenance plumbing service and guidance to protecting your outdoor watering systems. We also offer 24-7 emergency plumbing service, in case of a burst pipe or overflowing drain. Give us a call or visit us online to book service and save our emergency number on your smartphone!