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Don't Let Winter Chew on your Pipes!

Winter is coming, but freezing weather isn’t the ONLY thing that may be chewing on your pipes! We did a job a while back where the customer reported a mysterious leak behind the laundry room wall. When we opened the wall and inspected the drain, this is what we found.

Something chewed this ABS drain pipe almost in half.

The horizontal portion of the 1 1/2” ABS drain pipe had been chewed almost in half. No wonder it was leaking! Luckily for us, whatever had been living in the wall was not there at the moment, and we managed to replace the pipe in peace.

This isn’t something plumbers run into everyday, thankfully, but it can happen. And it can happen in some very nice, very well-maintained homes. Many of us like to keep beautiful yards, we plant kitchen gardens, we compost and use organic fertilizers, we set out birdseed, we create beautiful ponds and water features. Unsurprisingly, a lot of urban wildlife likes the same things we like. And then, when the weather gets colder, the wild creatures start looking for shelter. Luckily, some of the same steps that help protect our pipes from winter damage can help here as well.

Most importantly - cover all of the air vents and access points under your house with hardware cloth securely fastened down. Then add insulation over the hardware cloth before freezing weather hits. This will help create a still, relatively warm body of air underneath your house. Whether you use insulation specifically made for this purpose (available online or at the local hardware stores), or cardboard and heavy-duty plastic, secure it in such a way that the local wildlife can’t remove it or slip by it. When summer comes or the weather warms up above freezing again you can remove the insulation to allow airflow, but make sure the vents and air spaces are still tightly secured against wildlife.

Winter Prep Checklist

  • Cover ALL air vents and access points under your house with hardware cloth or a similar product
  • Cover ALL air vents under your house with insulation during freezing weather
  • Insulate all exposed pipes
  • Wrap all outside faucets and spigots
  • Drain and remove all garden hoses

And if you need us, just give us a call at 541-343-9339. We’ll be glad to help you out with any mysterious leaks!

Winter Preparation articles from Petersen Plumbing