Temperatures are now declining, and frigid winter months are ahead. And while many parts of the country are enjoying crisp autumn mornings in October, if the Farmer’s Almanac is right, about two-thirds of the nation will be in for a colder-than-average winter throughout 2013 and into 2014. Of course, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a slightly warmer-than-average winter across much of the country during this same time frame.
Regardless of where you live or which predictions you follow, one thing is certain – it will get colder. As unpredictable as weather is, you need to begin preparing your plumbing system now. Otherwise, common winter problems like frozen pipes or an inefficient or broken water heater could surprise you and leave a big hole in your savings account.
As temperatures get colder, proper and regular maintenance of plumbing systems is critical, and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® is here to help! Make sure your plumbing system is prepared with the tips below.
To help avoid frozen pipes:
- Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected during freezing temperatures, water in hoses could freeze and expand causing connecting faucets and pipes to freeze and break. 
- Inspect outside faucets. If dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call one of our plumbers before a freeze.
- Cover outside faucets using an inexpensive faucet insulation kit. 
- Keep water dripping from a faucet that’s prone to freezing (ones that run through an unheated or unprotected space). Opening a faucet could help provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs.
To help ensure your water heater is working properly and efficiently:
- Apply insulation to your water heater, especially if it’s in an unheated space. This can help reduce heat loss by 25 – 45 percent.
- Drain corrosion-causing sediment from the tank. Since your water heater works harder during winter months, this can build-up and might reduce efficiency if it’s not removed.
- Clear any leaves and debris from roof gutters and downspouts to help ensure proper drainage throughout the winter season.
- Set water heater thermostat to 120 F to help reach optimum performance without risk of scalding.
Call one of our plumbers today to schedule your maintenance check that could help you and your plumbing system avoid any winter disasters.
 http://www.weather.com/life/safety/winter/article/winter-preventing-frozen-pipes_2011-10-06 (Unfortunately, this page does not exist anymore)
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