Home Maintenance

Photo Courtesy of Michael Kirsh via Flickr – License

It’s that time of year again! The joys of a four-season climate are upon us. The last time the weather shifted, we offered up some home maintenance tips to prepare for summer.  Now, we’re doing the same to help you prepare your home for blustery days and the inevitable arrival of Denver’s winter weather. Our maintenance tips this time around are preventative in nature; we want to help you stave off any damage from heavy snows and freezing temperatures. It’s always better to avoid the need to call a plumber than it is to face a situation where it’s a necessity. Be proactive in your approach to cold weather home maintenance with these easy tips:

Check Your Outdoor Connections

It’s easy to overlook outdoor spigots once the weather turns, but neglecting them could leave you with a flooded basement and an unsightly water bill. Water left in pipes makes them prone to freezing and rupturing. Make sure to turn off outdoor water at its source. This means heading to the basement and stopping the flow of water from ever reaching these pipes leading outside the home. Once the flow is stopped, remember to open and close your spigots to actually drain them of water. You’ll have a dry basement and be much happier because of it.

Winterize the Sump Pump

A sump pump’s job is to clear your sump (also known as a drain basin) of water, which prevents flooding during periods of heavy rain. They work great during the warmer months, but once the temperature dips below freezing, their function can be inhibited. The main problem you’ll run into is a frozen exit pipe. When water leaves the house it no longer is exposed to the heat generated by the pump, which allows it to freeze. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to prevent this. Barring a redesign of the drainage system, your best bet is to insulate the pipe. Insulation can be bought at any home maintenance store, and it is very inexpensive. In extreme circumstances, heat tape/wiring can utilize electricity to keep your pipes defrosted.

This should be a standard part of any winterization, because there will be no warning signs if something goes wrong. Your first indication of a frozen exit pipe will probably be a flooded basement, so you want to avoid ever getting to that point.

Clear Your Foundation

The water that moves into your basement through your foundation is the reason sump pump winterization is such a priority. This is another silent issue that won’t become apparent until it’s too late. At best, your sump pump will work extra hard and possibly burn out or freeze, leaving you with a flooded basement. At worst, the water trapped under your foundation can freeze and expand, potentially causing structural damage. Make sure to clear the edges of your home from fallen leaves or other debris that can trap water and cause it to pool around your foundation. Raking your yard once a week should be all that is required to prevent any issues.

Outdoor Water Features

Forgetting about outdoor water features, such as fountains or plastic ponds, is unlikely to result in damage inside of your home, but it does present a risk. Leaving water in any plumbing or other fragile material during the winter is asking for it to be destroyed. Water expands as it freezes with absolutely no regard for the structures surrounding it. Think of an overfilled water bottle after it has frozen. When there is no more space for expansion, the plastic will deform or crack. Don’t let your beautiful (and expensive) landscaping go to waste. Protect your investment with proper winterization.

Taking a few hours out of your time and adding these home maintenance tasks to your pre-autumn checklist can save you significant time, money, and headaches. The Denver area is well accustomed to sub-zero autumn nights, and our city sees more than its fair share of harsh winter weather. Always stay one step ahead of potential weather damage to your home.

If something has gone wrong with your plumbing and you’re in the Denver metro area, please call us. Our certified technicians have more than 120 years of combined industry experience, and we are ready to put our skills to work for you if you’re ever in need.