Preparing Drainage for Winter: What’s Important to Know

Preparing Drainage for Winter

Preparing Drainage for Winter

Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” This quote stands the test of time because it’s appropriate for almost everything in life. Whether its major events like building a home or smaller matters like preparing drainage for winter, being prepared is fundamental.

We know to prepare for tests, job interviews and vacations. However, many lesser but important tasks, like preparing drainage for winter, tend to fall through the cracks. Learn more about the significance of this vital undertaking to avoid being caught off guard this winter.


Why preparing drainage for winter is essential

For most of us, cold weather means the beauty of a fresh snowfall, the opportunity to curl up in cozy blankets and an end to allergy suffering. Nevertheless, winter can wreak havoc on the outside of our homes and business properties. Things like sprinkler systems, outside faucets, gutters and drain pipes are especially susceptible due to the dangerous mixture of water and freezing temperatures.

We use water in our homes and businesses every day. Your water and plumbing systems consist of the most advanced, complicated and expensive aspects of your property. Therefore, it’s imperative to protect it.

When water freezes, it expands. This has an effect on whatever the water is in, including pipes and drains. You must take special care to protect any pipes or drains that may be exposed to the elements, even those in your garage or attic. This doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you have the right commercial and residential drainage company to help you.

Anytime temperatures dip below 30 degrees, you are at risk for distress. Even if the frozen pipe or drain is located outside, the water damage will typically occur inside your home or business. When this happens, you may face the consequences of hundreds of gallons of water flow where it’s not supposed to go and the resulting financial costs.

It only takes one freeze event to cause a problem. Prolonged freezing temperatures and the accompanying wind chill that is standard for the weather in northern New Jersey often cause the soil to freeze around your pipes and drainage systems. You might not even be aware of the impairment until the following spring.

A lack of preparation before the winter temperatures hit can lead to disaster. Pipes can crack, burst or leak, causing damage to your property and expensive headaches. Taking steps now to guard against such trouble can save you time and stress.


How preparing drainage for winter works

Drain water from outside pipes – for many water-based appliances, draining is necessary. This includes hoses, faucets and taps. For hoses, you may want to store them in a warmer area to prevent damage and cracking. Some people think antifreeze is the answer but this is not always a wise choice. The chemicals could damage pipe lines and it’s not environmentally safe.

The procedure for draining your pipes is not always easy. Numerous steps add up to a complicated process. This may include attaching hoses and draining water outdoors or into a sump-pit, opening faucets and blowing out the water and flushing out the lines. If you don’t have the time or you’re not sure you can do it correctly, it’s better to call in a professional drainage company.

Insulate – there may be some pipes that you cannot drain for the winter because they are still in use. In this case, insulation provides the best protection. As an added benefit, it may also reduce your energy costs. Most home improvement or hardware stores sell circular insulation products. You simply wrap this around any kind of piping.  You can also use heat tape or cable. Now is the time to check around the outside of your home for exposed piping and insulate it before freezing temperatures hit.

Repair any leaks – perform a visual examination while the pipes are still running and before the temperature drops below freezing. This is an ideal way to discover leaks on your property. If there are leaks, you may be able to patch them yourself using one of the DIY patch kits on the market. However, if the pipe leak is from your heating system or main water supply, it’s best to consult a professional.

Keep the heat on – some people are afraid of higher heating bills if they keep heat flowing around pipes during winter months but actually, the opposite is true. You will spend less if you keep your heat at a steady temperature.  Rather than with the stop-start method of letting everything get cold and then cranking up the heat over and over to get it warm again.

Look for gaps and air flow – sometimes, there is space between a pipe or drain and the wall where it enters your home or business. This can cause cold air to get in and freeze the pipes. You can avoid this by using wood or plastic insulation. Do not use this method for vents connected to your heating system, though.

Make sure drain grates are clear – this is perhaps the easiest thing you can do to improve air flow during the winter. Remove leaves, dirt and debris from all outside grates to avoid freezing and keep the drains from becoming blocked.

Get protection – an ideal way to keep out dirt and debris is to purchase a drain protector. They make these protectors out of a freeze-resistant plastic material designed to withstand the elements.


Hire a residential or commercial drain contractor – make sure the company you choose is properly licensed and holds the right type of insurance. They should also be customer friendly and willing to explain all aspects of the drainage solution process.

Troubleshooting drainage issues takes experience. Mikula Contracting handles ground, land and backyard drainage as well as rainwater and standing water drainage and surface drainage systems. We service Essex, Passaic, Hudson, Bergen, Union and Morris counties. Call today for a fast quote so you can be ready for winter tomorrow.

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