The holiday season is for visiting loved ones, eating delicious food and snuggling up by the fire in your cabin. Emergency plumbing or water heater disasters are not included in the festivities.
In order to keep things running smoothly for your celebrations and visiting guests, these areas of concern should be looked over every time you run through your list.
Not sure where to start? We spoke to Spencer Pope from The Bradford White Corporation, a leading American manufacturer trusted by professional residential contractors across the country, for advice. Their specialists know from decades of experience the best ways to get your water heater and pipes ready as temperatures continue to drop.
Question: What do homeowners need to know about plumbing/water heaters?
Answer: Water heaters do require maintenance to realize their fullest operating potential—including draining a few gallons from the drain valve monthly to prevent sediment buildup, and periodic inspections for leaks. Most heaters should also be checked annually by a licensed contractor for proper combustion and airflow, and the anode rod, which sacrifices itself to protect the tank, should be changed periodically.
Question: Does the holiday season add more “stress” to your plumbing/water heater?
Answer: It does! Typically, the holidays mean more hot water usage because family and friends are visiting, and colder incoming water in most areas means the water heater may run longer to heat the water.
Question: How can homeowners better prepare for the winter season?
Answer: The best way to be prepared is to have a licensed contractor perform regular inspections and maintenance, so a baseline is established and can be used to watch for changes.
Question: What are the warning signs to know something is wrong before a larger issue occurs?
Answer: While there’s no concise way to tell if a water heater will fail, watch for leaks, unusual sounds, or changes in energy consumption. If a homeowner sees any of these warning signs, we recommend contacting a licensed contractor.
Question: Are there any tips/tricks you recommend for homeowners to avoid negative situations in the coming months?
Answer: Make sure the water heater area is free of storage and debris, and for homeowners who live in colder regions with snow, keep an eye on where the vent terminates outside to ensure it doesn’t get covered with snow or ice.
Spencer also recommends asking your contractor to check that outdoor vent openings are protected in accordance with local code. Items like a bird screen or chimney cap can prevent small critters from making a home in the warm venting.
With everything checked and handled, you’re free to enjoy the coming winter months with the only worries being how much turkey you need and where to score the best deals on holiday shopping.