Are your plumbing pipes prepared for winter and the holiday cooking season? With temperatures getting colder and people spending more time indoors due to those cold temperatures, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your pipes, making sure they’re in good condition, and ensuring they have had all their maintenance. This is because poorly maintained and weak plumbing pipes are more susceptible to freezing and bursting than pipes that are newer and free of corrosion. To help you keep your pipes operational, even during the coldest winter nights, we’ve devised a winter plumbing maintenance checklist that can help prevent major plumbing problems during the cold winter months and holidays.

Chicago Winter Plumbing Maintenance Checklist

Making sure your plumbing system is ready for winter goes beyond letting the taps drip when the temperature dips below 32 degrees. In fact, if this is your idea of keeping your pipes from freezing and bursting, you’re doing less than the bare minimum. Let’s take a look at how you can really ensure your pipes are ready for winter with this winter plumbing maintenance checklist.

1. Get a Plumbing Inspection

When it comes to making sure your pipes are ready for the freezing temperatures of the Chicago winter, you should always start with a plumbing inspection. Plumbing inspections are typically performed with a camera. They allow a first-hand view of the inside of your pipes, which can help detect corrosion and blockages and tell you about your plumbing pipes, including how much life is left in them.

2. Fix Any and All Leaks

If you know you have leaks or the plumbing inspection revealed leaks, make sure to get them fixed before the temperatures drop below freezing. If you choose traditional plumbing methods, this means replacing any pipes or sections of pipe with new piping. If you choose epoxy pipe lining, it means getting your pipes coated in epoxy to seal current leaks and prevent future leaks.

3. Add Pipe Insulation and Heat Tape

If you have potable water pipes along the exterior walls of your building, consider adding pipe insulation and heat tape to the pipes you can reach. The insulation helps protect your pipes against freezing temperatures, and the heat tape helps prevent the water from freezing in the pipes by adding a small amount of heat.

4. Repair or Replace Any Corroded or Worn Plumbing Pipes

If you have old plumbing pipes or pipes that are corroded but not yet leaking, consider replacing them. Old pipes that are worn out do not do well in cold temperatures and are more likely to break and cause a flood in your building.

5. Check for Slow Drains and Clear Clogs

Your drain pipes are just as important as your potable water pipes. Therefore, it’s important to check for slow drains and look for maintenance tickets that may refer to slow drains. Then, have your drains hydro jetted to ensure all clogs are removed and water flow is maximized.

6. Remind Tenants of the Proper Way To Use Plumbing Pipes

Next, remind your tenants of the proper way to use their drain pipes and garbage disposal. While you never want to pour grease or oil down a drain pipe, it’s especially important to never do that during winter because the pipes will be colder, and the grease will solidify much higher in the pipe, creating clogs and blockages that could negatively impact the drain function of several apartments or condos.

7. Seal Building Drafts

Lastly, take a trip around your building to look for drafts and air leakage. While this doesn’t directly relate to your plumbing pipes, it’s still a good idea. Sealing leaks in your building’s envelope can help decrease your winter heating bills and provide a more even indoor air temperature across your building. Also, if you have pipes along exterior walls or in extremely drafty rooms, sealing air leaks can help prevent those pipes from freezing and bursting. If you want to take the guesswork out of this process, you can hire a company to perform blower door tests to precisely pinpoint air drafts and provide recommendations on how to seal them.

Why You Need to Drip Your Pipes on Cold Nights

After taking all of these precautions, don’t forget to drip your pipes on cold winter nights when the temperature is forecast to be 32 degrees or less, and remind your tenants to drip all their faucets, especially those located on exterior walls. Dripping a pipe involves turning the faucet or shower on a very slight bit until you see a slow drop of water.

While many people believe that this stops the water from freezing because it ensures the movement of water through the pipes, this is not necessarily true. Instead, dripping the pipe prevents air from building up between the ice block and the faucet or shower. It’s the air pressure that bursts the pipe once the water freezes, not the expanding, frozen water.

Epoxy Pipelining with NuFlow

If you’re concerned about the condition of your pipes and how they weather the upcoming cold temperatures, consider epoxy pipelining with NuFlow. Pipelining helps extend the useful lives of your pipes by sealing small leaks and ensuring the pipes are free and clear of debris. This is because the pipelining process always starts with a thorough cleaning that removes all the sediment and corrosion from the inside diameter of the pipe. This helps maximize the pipe’s diameter to ensure proper water flow. Then, we’ll either apply an epoxy coating or a pipe liner to the pipe that helps seal leaks and prevent future corrosion.

To learn more about our epoxy pipelining services and to schedule an appointment, contact us today at 815-790-9000.