Growing up, my Dad tried to heat our entire house using just a wood-burning stove. The only problem was: we lived in a ranch house. The stove burned on one side of the house, while the bedrooms and bathrooms were on the other.

Every winter, Dad would brag about how low he kept our heating bill, and we warned guests to visit wearing layers!

I can't remember if it was just a family joke or not, but I always remember hearing the same story: After dinner, a family friend went to use the "facilities"; after a few minutes, we heard her screaming. The toilet seat was so cold that she actually stuck to it. Now that's cold!

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Luckily, our pipes were well-insulated and never froze, so what we saved in heating didn't go directly into pipe repair.

PuroClean Restoration Services has done restoration work in homes with all varieties of pipe problems. We've worked on houses with broken supply lines, backed up sewer lines, and leaks that have gone unrepaired and caused massive water damage. We've seen vacation homes that have gotten so cold the toilet tanks actually cracked!

The following is some information on toilet care, to help prevent disasters before they happen.

Check your toilets for leaks.

Did you know that a leaky toilet can waste as much as 100 gallons of water each day?

Test for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank, then watch for a few minutes. If the color appears in the bowl, you have a leak. Repair your toilet, and it will save you time, money, and hopefully heartache.

If you have water on the floor by your toilet, it may be sweating or leaking where the tank connects to the bowl. Squeeze a couple drops of food coloring in the tank water, wait about an hour, and then dab the tank bolts with a white tissue. If the color appears on the tissue, the tank is leaking. Otherwise, it’s probably sweating. A tank typically sweats in the summer when it is cooler than the ambient air, causing moisture to condense on its surface. When the moisture drips down to the floor, it can cause mildew or — worse — dry rot. Toilet tanks can be easily insulated with a lining of foam rubber or polystyrene to prevent sweating.

Water Treatments

Some people try to “winterize” their homes before they leave by draining the plumbing system and adding antifreeze to the fixtures. Frequently, this is not effective, and the owners find freeze damage when they return. Draining the plumbing system needs to be thorough and complete. If a water line sags or bows, it can result in a low spot that is nearly impossible to completely drain.

To be most effective, draining the water lines should be accompanied by the use of compressed air to blow out the lines. If this is not done, some amount of water will remain and will freeze in the low points of the lines, which may cause the pipes to break. The damage is then discovered only after the water is turned back on and escapes from that break.

Virtually all plumbing lines are placed inside of walls and are not visible. As a result, a freeze-caused leak is only discovered when water damage to floors, carpet, walls, or ceilings becomes visible. Occasionally, occupants can hear the sound of spraying water, but by then the leak may have already caused some degree of damage.

Please visit our website for more information and all your mitigation needs.