Water behaves curiously at very cold temperatures. As the temperature falls, water contracts as expected until it reaches about 39 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, it expands slightly as it gets closer to its freezing point. This expansion is what causes problems in many plumbing and air conditioner systems that circulate water during the wintertime. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, frozen pipes cost home and property owners thousands of dollars every year.——————————————– CONTINUE READING ——————————————–Luckily, with the right amount of forethought and preparation, this costly seasonal problem can be avoided. Let our skilled plumbers at Countryside share with you how to protect your pipes and plumbing system from damage due to freezing temperatures.Should You Insulate or Heat Your Pipes?Our Countryside Plumbing and Heating experts have weighed the costs of applying insulation or heat to your pipes against the overall cost of a major plumbing repair job. In either case, prevention proves much more affordable than repairs, so it does pay to sacrifice a portion of your budget to regular preventative maintenance in exchange for keeping your pipes in good shape throughout the winter.Precautionary MeasuresWhile the following tips might seem counterintuitive, they’re the best options for preventing your pipes from freezing:Close garage doors and open cabinet doors. Garages are rarely heated, so it makes sense to try to keep whatever heat it does receive inside. You can do this by keeping the garage doors closed whenever possible, particularly at night when temperatures can drop to freezing levels. Alternatively, you can also open up your kitchen cabinets and drawers if you have plumbing running through your walls. This will allow indoor heat to reach your pipes and keep them from freezing.Allow your faucets to drip water. While this might sound wasteful, it’s actually pretty effective at keeping the water in your main lines flowing. Moving water freezes much more slowly, so allowing your faucet to drip slightly is a small price to pay to avoid costly plumbing repairs.Invest in insulation. The next time you research the cost of a central air conditioner, throw in a quick query about pipe insulation. This is a long-term solution that can help prevent frozen pipes from year to year.At Countryside, you can count on our trained, experienced professionals to help you with all your plumbing, heating and air conditioning needs. Give us a call at (715) 246-2660 or fill out our contact form to schedule a service visit today.
Winters in Wisconsin can be punishing, so it’s important to face the season well-prepared. Sometimes, however, preparations can fall short, and an unexpected storm or breakdown can leave you smack dab in the middle of the cold with no radiant heat to give you warmth. If this happens to you, don’t panic just yet; there are ways to survive this predicament.
The decision to replace household systems is straightforward for the most part. With a furnace, once you’ve determined that you need a new one, all you have to do is call your local HVAC company to find out the cost of a new furnace and it’s smooth sailing from that point forward. With water heaters, however, things aren’t usually as clear cut. Water heater tanks can hide a lot of problems, and once these problems surface it’s often too late for repairs.
You never know when you’ll need the services of a good emergency plumber, so if you don’t already have a trusted plumber on your contact list, don’t wait for an emergency before looking for one. In this blog, Countryside Plumbing and Heating, Inc. discusses the basics of hiring a plumber.
What Plumbers Do
Plumbers generally have the training to address issues related to home plumbing, and should have the skills and know-how to root out the source of plumbing problems. Commonplace issues such as plumbing leaks may have more than one cause, and finding the right solution is essential for a timely and permanent fix. Homeowners typically either won’t have access to water or will stand to waste a lot of it during a plumbing emergency, so the sooner it’s fixed, the better.
While plumbers have more or less the same set of skills, some specialize in certain aspects of plumbing, such as commercial plumbing and gas line installation and repairs. Others may extend their scope to include proficiency in installing and repairing high-efficiency furnace systems. One of the advantages of working with an HVAC and plumbing company like us is that we can send the plumber that’s right for the job.
Hiring a Plumber
Look for the following when hiring a plumber:
- License — The State of Wisconsin requires plumbers to hold a license issued by the Safety and Buildings Division of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. Plumbers who apply for a Journeyman or Master Plumber’s license are required to pass the State Plumbing Exam. When hiring a plumber, make sure they have a valid license; this is your assurance of a plumber’s legitimacy, skill level and knowledge of applicable building codes.
- Guarantee or Warranty — A good plumber or plumbing company will have their work guaranteed or warrantied. This is your protection against installation or repair errors.
- Payment Method — Be wary of plumbers—and contractors in general—who ask for full payment upfront. A typical payment schedule consists of a down payment, one or two installments and a final payment upon satisfactory completion.
- Good Customer Feedback — Take the time to call at least three references, as provided by the plumber. In addition to asking about the quality of their work, ask these previous customers if they would hire the plumber again. You’ll probably need a plumber more than once, so hiring one that provides quality work will be beneficial in the long run.
For older HVAC units, repairs can be a frequent requirement. Over time, the cost of these repairs adds up, becoming less and less practical compared to the cost of having new equipment installed. One alternative is to sign up for a maintenance agreement from your local HVAC company, which could cover either minor repairs or heavily discounted prices on parts and labor as part of the deal, depending on the plan. Moreover, the routine inspections and tune-ups that these programs provide can extend the life of your unit and help you get a few more years of life out of it.