The holidays are among us. Smells of Ugg boots and Pumpkin Spice Lattes fill our marketplace and we are all just a little more basic than normal 🙂 We are bundled in our jeans, sweats, and oversized hoodies and the year is winding down. The entrepreneur in me says this is when we need to be turning up the heat to head into 2020 with vigor but the 13-year-old kid in me says let’s watch one more game of football!

While the seasons are changing and things around us start to get warmer or colder we often forget what that does to our house and those water pipes. So here are some tricks for making sure you don’t fall victim to a wintertime pipe burst or water heater malfunction.

Change your water heater rod

Many people are unaware that there is a rod that runs through the center of your water heater to ensure that minerals and contaminants in the water that goes into the heater stick to it rather than going through your pipes and causing potential damage. Well, as you might guess, over time those rods start to break down and the seals at each end of them deteriorate and that’s what potentially leads to a 50-gallon puddle in your basement or garage. It’s a good thing to have a plumber out every 2-3 years to inspect that rod and prepare your water heater for the weather change.

Water Leak Detection Sensors

Many homeowners are unaware that sensors exist now that will help detect leaks and automatic shut off the main water line in your home to prevent it from getting worse. Many homeowner’s policies offer discounts for such devices and they have been proven to minimize the amount needed to fix a claimable event by ensuring the water does not continue to flow after the leak happens. This is a great way to protect your home and your rates from increases by decreasing the severity of the water claims that could happen in your home as much as possible.

Wrap your pipes

Most homes up until recent builds were built with some sort of metal piping – copper, aluminum, heck I am not a plumber, just metal guys c’mon! Well during the winter the air gains access to those pipes through the outside faucets. Not only could you see freezing water at those pipes if there is a slow drip or leak but that freezing water could lead back into your pipes and expand them enough to cause a break at the joints or some other leak. It’s a good habit to get into to wrap those pipes with a towel or there are actually pipe wrapping sleeves now that can be purchased for a few bucks on Amazon!

Get an annual inspection of the home

All of us at one time or another have had a home inspection before we purchased the house. It’s an itemized list of all the potential things that could go wrong with the property or that are wrong and need immediate attention. I personally have a home inspection once a year to build out my honey-do list and ensure that I am keeping the repairs on my home up to date before things build up and get away from me on anything. Now, this inspection is much more high level than the one that you get during a home purchase so it costs me roughly $100 and the inspect spends maybe 30 minutes to an hour at my home to help me build out major issues. He’s not going to likely find that plugin outlet that is not working but he will definitely find broken pipes, roof tiles out of place or missing, and other things that could lead to big homeowners’ claims and potential water damage claims.

At the end of the day the home automation and maintenance of your property is your responsibility but those of us who are taking that responsibility seriously and keeping our homes as close to new as possible as they age will be rewarded with discounts on homeowners and see lower premiums over time as we avoid claims that others are having. I hope you find these few tips to be useful to you and your family!

I am in no way a plumber so all the information in this article is based on experience and opinions that I personally have. Please consult a home inspector, builder, and/or plumber for your specific needs at your home!

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