Why is it Important to Prepare Plumbing Systems for Winter?

Posted on December 30th, 2015 by carrolladmin

With the holidays behind us and temperatures feeling much more seasonal it’s time to admit that it’s finally winter in Central Virginia!  Although by now you’re probably ready for colder temperatures, and maybe even the potential for some Richmond snowfall, it’s important not to forget some basic tasks that should be tended to around your home. Whether you’re traveling this season, or hibernating at home, give your plumbing a once over to make sure it’s ready for upcoming drops in temperature.

Plumbing systems are incredibly susceptible to freezing in the winter months.  Once outdoor temperatures drop to 32° or lower—even if only for a brief period of time—plumbing lines and pipes can freeze.  Best case scenario, it’s a simple fix, but more often than not frozen pipes are a very costly emergency repair.

Make preventative maintenance a top priority

If you haven’t had your plumbing system inspected recently, or ever, now is as good a time as any!  With temperatures dipping lower, making sure your plumbing system is prepared can prevent expensive and inconveniencing repairs, but also ensure optimum comfort and safety both inside and outside of your home.

Preventative maintenance is a comprehensive service.  At Carroll Plumbing & Heating Inc. our technicians cover all aspects of your plumbing system.  These services are the best way to prevent the numerous plumbing emergencies homeowners may experience this winter season.  As an added bonus, our technicians can also give you helpful tips and offer assistance in further winterizing your home.

Preventative maintenance includes:

  • Identifying and repairing any water leaks—even the smallest drip can cause big problems when temperatures drop.
  • Checking for signs of corrosion—this type of damage can actually cause leaks and bad connections if not repaired.
  • Inspecting the water heater—when internal corrosion and sediment builds up, it can damage the unit.  Flush the tank and calibrate temperatures, when necessary.  
  • Testing water pressure—low water pressure can indicate sediment build up inside the fixtures, but it can also be a sign of a water line issue.
  • Insulating exposed plumbing—pipes in basements or those running near exterior walls are most susceptible to freezing.
  • Inspecting and servicing your heat pump, furnace or other heating equipment to ensure it runs properly.  This is important for efficiency and performance, but protection for your plumbing system as well.   Our technicians can perform these additional services at your request during preventative plumbing maintenance.


Winter preparation tips for homeowners

In addition to scheduling preventative maintenance, homeowners can do their part to ensure their plumbing system is prepared for winter.  Here are some homeowner basics:

  • Clean gutters and downspouts to prevent clogging and freezing.
  • Detach and empty residual water from garden hoses to prevent freezing and cracking.
  • Turn off and drain the irrigation system.
  • Store away portable grills, seasonal patio furniture and gardening tools, etc. in the garage or shed.
  • Check windows and doors for drafts.  Use weather stripping, caulk or other solutions like door rolls to seal drafts.
  • Know the location of your water shut off valve.  If an emergency like a pipe break or leak occurs, you must immediately shut off water supply.

Suspect a frozen pipe?

Even with preventative maintenance and homeowner action, it’s unfortunate, but some people still experience frozen pipes. While the repair hopefully isn’t as expensive or catastrophic as it would have been without maintenance, it’s still a problem to address.  Here are some of signs that your pipes are frozen…

  • Upon activating a faucet, either no water or only small drips come out.
  • You notice frost collecting on interior pipes like those underneath sinks.
  • After flushing a toilet, the bowl doesn’t refill itself.
  • When one fixture works, but not another, like the bathroom shower runs without problem, but not the toilet.  

Related:  Tips for preventing frozen pipes

Traveling this season?

Do you plan to travel this winter, or leave your home vacant for an extended period of time?  Protect your plumbing, as well as the entire property while you’re away. Here are some tips…

  • Schedule preventative maintenance before you leave town—this will cover all of the basics.
  • The general rule of thumb is if you intend to leave the water supply on, leave the heat on as well, but dial it back to around 55°.
  • Open cabinets underneath faucets to give interior plumbing additional exposure to heat.
  • Notify a trusted neighbor or friend of your absence.  Give them contact information, but also access to your home in case of a plumbing or heating emergency.  

Quality, professional service

Scheduling preventative maintenance and performing some basic homeowner tasks can go a long way in protecting your home and your plumbing system this winter.  The technicians at Carroll Plumbing & Heating Inc. can provide a full inspection of your system, as well as answer any questions you may have about winterizing your home and maintaining optimum efficiency.

Contact Carroll Plumbing & Heating Inc. today to learn more about our heating and plumbing services.

We have used Carroll for over 10 years on our home and on a rental house. They have consistently been the best. Good response, professional technicians, fair prices. I called them over the holiday freeze because a rental house furnace broke. They got a guy out that day & got the furnace going. This has happened for us every time.
Carrol heating and plumbing responded very rapidly and Amani was wonderful thank you!
I called in urgent repair of my water heater at my dog grooming business. They had a technician at my shop in a hour. He had me up and running and when the water heater quit working later in the day they came back that afternoon. As the heater was under warranty they were able to to install anew one the next morning. I was amazed at the prompt and friendly service.
I reached out to Carroll Plumbing & Heating to see what was going on with the A/C unit at my rental property. David returned my call promptly and we scheduled an appointment to investigate the issue. He was very professional, knowledgeable, and able to answer all my questions. The pricing was very fair and reasonable. The install crew was very friendly, both introducing themselves upon entering the home. The system was swapped out quickly and they made sure I understood the new system prior to leaving. I was very happy with the service provided by Carroll Plumbing & Heating. They are easy to work and I highly recommend.
Carroll Plumbing and Heating installed my new gas hot water heater. Their technicians did an exceptional job. They were professional, polite, knowledgeable, and respectful of me and my home. Dave and Zach installed the gas hot water heater. Dave made sure that he answered all of my questions and that I knew how the new hot water heater worked with my Aqua Therm furnace. It was a pleasure working with multiple technicians from Carroll Plumbing and Heating.
Super quick to come tell me that my problem wasn’t a problem. Crew was honest & chill.
Our hot water heater died and we were able to get a estimator out in the morning and the heater replaced in the afternoon. They were professional, friendly and easy to do business with. Highly recommmend!
I’ve had several occasions to use Carroll Plumbing and they have always been great. Today was no exception. I had an emergency and they were able to stay on top of their schedules to work us in. Problem quickly solved. Thanks for the fast and efficient service!
We have used Carroll’s plumbing after seeing multiple positive reviews on the NextDoor app. Truly a great group of staff. From management who helped to troubleshoot an item, to Albert who specializes in sewer-related items, to Dustin, Phillip and Jamaine. We had the whole crew it seems at one point of another to our 1940’s bungalow to assist with old house issues. Schedulers are also always pleasant and responsive. Knowledgeable employees who consistently deliver great service!
I have used Carroll for everything from installation of a ducted minisplit a/c system to repair work on an aged water boiler heating system and have found them to be excellent on every job. They are 100% transparent on billing, if a job takes less time than what was budgeted the final bill reflects time spent on the job rather than the estimate. Just wonderful folks.
Great job replacing sink faucet.
Best in Richmond by far. I am a Landlord and every single time I have had a problem they have responded immediately, this has been going on for over 10 years, I am absolutely delighted that we have such a fine provider of important community service. Keep it up! Thank you Carroll.
Carroll Plumbing & Heating came through for me in an emergency. I called for help when my home warranty company couldn't send out a plumber right away. I had a busted hot water tank in my attic and was leaking water through my ceiling. I had a real emergency and they came within 30 mins. The Techs got in my attic cut off the gas to the tank and water. Then they drained the water. It was a hard job due to the tight area in my attic. The were very professional and knowledgeable. The also wore their masks. I would recommend them to anyone. I give them an "A" plus. Thanks to them guys at Carroll.
Called over holiday weekend w leaking sewage pipe. They advised cost would be high and suggested temporary water collection. Saved us money and earned our respect for their integrity. Made repair quickly after. Get service and workmanship.
Robert and Mike are great. Arrived on time and went right to work. I had another issue and they took the time to explain what I needed. I have more work to be done and plan to ask for them specifically.
I have been a customer of Carroll Plumbing and Heating for over 30 years and would not go anywhere else.
I will never call anyone else again! They were so nice, super fast, and very efficient!!! Everyone from the receptionist to the dispatcher and the technicians. The manager even checked in on us!! Cannot say enough great things about this company!! Thank you so much!!
The guys from Carroll were prompt, professional, patient & reasonable. They diagnosed my problem, replaced the parts and were in & out within an hour. This was the first time I've use Carroll and I can guarantee there will be a second when the need arises.
Excellent Customer Service
Best plumbing, heating and cooling contractor in the metro area!
Excellent job and workmanship. We had an emergency issue that required a gas line replacement. They were on the spot, courteous, and professional. We never had to go a night without heat or hot water. I'll go back to this place for all of my heating and plumbing needs. Dustin is a great plumber and Bruce runs a tight shop -- personally making sure customers are happy.
Great service! I called them late Monday and they were at my house Tuesday morning the next day. Always have had a great experience with Carroll. Highly recommend them!
Had an extremely poor experience with another plumbing company in Richmond and was sick of dealing with trying to get in contact with their "managers." My roommate found Carroll online and I called for an appointment. The receptionist that answered was very nice and seemed to know exactly who to send me to for immediate assistance, rather than have me play phone tag with multiple departments.A kind man named Bruce was over to diagnose the issue, walk me through the repair and how our aged heating system worked, and think of a creative solution that saved me over $500 off the total bill with a fair invoice that detailed the work demands and parts used--all in the same day. They may be a little pricey, but I was incredibly impressed with their speed, customer service, and attentiveness to the intricacies of aged baseboard radiators. I've never worked with any other home service companies who were willing to quote a new and innovative solution for a typically expensive repair. Keep up the great work!
Best plumbing company around :)
I called this company due to an emergency that I had. My pipes burst and I had no heat or hot water and it was 14 degrees outside. Bruce was extremely helpful, kind and quick to solve the problem. They came out quickly, gave a reasonable estimate and stayed until they were assured the problem was fixed. Dave was a great help, along with the other gentleman who helped him. I will definitely use this company in the future and will recommend them to anyone with heating and plumbing needs! They are knowledgeable, have excellent customer service, and helped me out tremendously when I needed them. A+ job!
Carroll is the best HVAC & Plumbing company in town! Two years ago, I had 5 different plumbers take a look at a new water heater where the pilot was not remaining lit. All 5 incompetent plumbers (several whom has fancy commercials that air today) could not figure out the problem. The last plumber actually referred me to Carroll and I so glad he didn't allow pride to keep him from sending me to someone who knew what they were doing. A week before X-mas, Carroll came out, figured out the entire WH needed to be replaced (through warranty), and though they didn't install the old WH they handled the entire warranty process that included removing the old WH and installing the new one. The entire process was completed in 2 days. About 3 days after they installed it, there was slight condensation buildup on one of the pipes that concerned me and after calling, Carroll immediately came out and stopped it. Today, after turning the heat on for the 1st time since last winter, I noticed cooler air blowing. I called Carroll this morning and within a few hours the dispatcher had Jacob come by. Within a few minutes Jacob quickly diagnosed the problem (which was a closed valve that was mistakenly left off when they came out last time). Jacob was a peach and the dispatcher was very kind.
Carroll Plumbing was fantastic! They were able to get me an appointment the very next day after I first called and the technician (Kenny) that they sent out was efficient, friendly and explained everything thoroughly. We will definitely use Carroll for any future plumbing needs! I HIGHLY recommend them!
Carroll Plumbing came to our house within 24 hours of our initial call. Our technician, Dustin, was incredible. He was on time, polite, courteous and friendly. He fixed our shower, installed a new sink in our basement and replaced the main shutoff valve for our water. He was fantastic and we will ask for Dustin by name in the future. We have used Carroll Plumbing for over 15 years and were saddened when our former plumber retired. Fortunately, Dustin is absolutely top notch.
Carroll is always on pointe. They came today to fix a leaky and sticking shower. They had to take off 3 valve controllers to get to the problem and were very careful to keep all the trim and insides in great condition. I was worried about working on our expensive shower fixtures, but perfect job. They have done several fixes for me over the years - all great quality - so I figured it was time to give them the review they deserve.
I manage a business located down the street from Carroll Plumbing. We were having our internet upgraded and the contractor doing the work hit our water line. We were without water to our building at 3PM in the afternoon and were facing the possibility of having to close our business. I called Carroll Plumbing and they were over assessing the issue within 10-15 minutes. By 4:30PM our line was fixed and we were back up and running. I cannot thank Carroll Plumbing enough for turning what could have been a disaster into a tiny bump in our day.
Very thorough and personable, I've used their service for years on my HVAC units and recently had them replace my system, install new thermostats, and expand the ductwork. They are timely, clean up after themselves, always answer all of my questions and are never in a hurry. I will continue to use their services in the future.
Had a problem with a dripping faucet. Aragon from Carroll came out on a Sunday, quickly diagnosed the problem, fixed it, tested it and explained to me clearly what had happened. He was very friendly, on time, worked quickly, and used his boot covers while in the house. It was a great experience.
Great company to deal with if you need plumbing work. This most recent need for Carroll was to replace my 16 year old hot water heater. They called me to let me know they were running behind and then called me to tell me the plumber was on his way. After the hot water heater was installed, the plumber reviewed it operation with me. I will use Carroll again.
We came home from work in early spring to find our furnace not working. Carroll came out the next day to look it over. They performed a quick fix until the part that was needed came in. They were back the very next day (on a weekend), working hard to get it working. Everyone from the folks in the office to the technician who did the work were professional and very helpful.I highly recommend Carroll Plumbing and will surely call them first when I need any heating or plumbing work.