How to Prepare Your Pipes for Winter in the Desert

How To Prepare Your Pipes For Winter In The Desert

Winter is a common time for your home’s plumbing pipes to burst due to cold weather. Yes – even in the desert! The best way to prevent this is to prepare your pipes the best you can before the onset of cold weather.

There are several ways to prep your home for the winter, including:

  • Checking for possible leaks
  • Insulating the pipes
  • Turning off outside faucets
  • Keeping a slow drip on inside
  • Keeping the temperature inside of your home above 55°F

Tips To Keep Your Pipes From Freezing

It’s important to properly insulate exposed pipes even if the weather condition where you live is not a hard freeze. If pipes are exposed to freezing temperatures for longer than 6 consecutive hours, it increases the chance of the water in the pipes freezing and then eventually causing a burst due to the change in pressure. Even a crack or two can have a severe impact on your property!

To keep exterior pipes from freezing, cover them to keep them well insulated. There are several different methods and materials for insulating your pipes. Any pipes that go through unheated spaces such as storage, mechanical rooms or attics should be covered as well.

Keeping a slow drip going from the faucets inside your home can also help prevent the pipes from freezing over. If cold weather settles in and you notice temperatures beginning to drop, start a small drip of both hot water and cold water in the kitchen, bath, laundry areas. A small water drip can help keep water moving through the system and prevent the water in the pipes from freezing.

How To Know The Pipes In Your Home Are Broken

If you turn on the faucet and only a small drip or nothing comes out, that can mean the pipes did freeze over. There are other reasons why your pipes may break, such as clogs in the drain or corrosion due to rust. Other signs of a broken pipe include loss of water pressure, stains on the wall, discolored water or noises coming from the pipes.

If you see or suspect a leak or a break in the piping anywhere inside or outside of the home, immediately shut off the main water supply to the property and call a professional plumber for assistance.

Not only does a broken pipe mean you will now be in need of a repair, it may also cause water damage to your property. Accidental water damage that occurs as a result of a sudden or unexpected pipe bursting may or may not be covered by homeowners insurance and can become costly. However, water damage can quickly lead to mold so it’s important to remediate any broken pipes and possible water damage as soon as possible. Make sure to document any damage so you can submit it for an insurance claim with your insurance company.

How To Repair A Broken Pipe

Pipes are an essential part of a plumbing structure and their failure can result in a large mess or even possible damage. To minimize damage while waiting for a repair, turn off the water and try to clean up any water if you can. A Professional Plumber will be able to assess the damage to the pipe and the best solution to repair it.

It’s important to hire a certified and experienced plumber when you need to repair a pipe so that it can be fixed quickly, efficiently and correctly. Hiring a plumber will be time-saving and cost-effective rather than attempting trial-and-error or do-it-yourself repair. A plumber will be able to come up with a solution to leave your home plumbing safe and reliable!

A Plumber You Can Trust

If for any reason you find you may have a broken pipe, Cummings Plumbing offers 24/7 assistance. No matter the time of day, we have a team of experienced technicians available to assist you with your plumbing needs. We’ve been serving the Tucson area for over 36 years!

Our technicians are here to help diagnose the problem and help you find a solution every time! We’re dedicated to providing affordable plumbing options to repair your plumbing issues. If you have a pipe break this winter season, contact the experts at Cummings Plumbing!

Benefits of Installing a Water Softening System

The Benefits of Installing a Water Softening System

Many people have hard water flowing into their home and don’t even realize it. Hard water is water that contains higher levels of calcium and magnesium, which might not sound like a big deal, but having hard water flowing through your pipes and out your faucet can actually have some serious consequences. For example, hard water makes it more difficult for things like soap or dish detergent to dissolve, which results in a film or build-up in your pipes, sometimes even leading to a clog. In addition, hard water is simply harsher on everything that comes into contact with it, from your skin and hair to your plumbing. Luckily, there is a way to turn your hard water into soft water — a water softening system.

Cummings Plumbing Heating and Cooling are plumbing experts based in Tucson, Arizona, who specialize in the installation of HVAC systems, including water softening systems. They provide their insight into a list of the top benefits to be derived from installing a water softening system in your home.

Healthier Skin

On the personal care side, one of the most noticeable benefits of soft water has to do with your skin. If your home currently relies on hard water, then you may think that dried out skin the moment you step out of the shower is the norm. The reality is that the harsh minerals that hard water contains act as an exfoliant on the skin, which can dry it out. Stripping hard water of these minerals by way of a water softening system will make the water far more gentle on your skin, shares Cummings Plumbing Heating and Cooling. The result? Healthier, softer skin that doesn’t require insane amounts of moisturizer the moment your shower ends.

Shiny Hair

Another benefit to be derived from the installation of a water softening system in your home is that soft water will leave your hair strong and shiny. Similar to the effects of hard water on your skin, the high content of minerals in the water can also leave your hair dry, dull, and brittle — no matter what shampoo you use. The minerals and ions in hard water can make even the healthiest locks look dried out. That is where a water softening system can help. According to Cummings Plumbing Heating and Cooling of Tucson, Arizona, such a system will remove the destructive minerals from the water, allowing your hair to retain more moisture and look its best.

Better Tasting Drinking Water

Third, the plumbing experts at Cummings Plumbing assert that hard water tends to taste “earthier,” which is not something many people enjoy. This earthier flavor is derived from the high contents of minerals and metallics such as iron that the water contains. In contrast, soft water has a much milder, more neutral taste. When drinking soft water, you won’t pick up on any sort of strange aftertaste, unlike hard water, which some claim they can taste traces of fluoride, chloramine, and other minerals in. Cummings Plumbing shares that the installation of a water softening system will result in fresh, filtered drinking water every single time, which ultimately results in a more pleasant tasting glass of water.

Cummings Plumbing on Cleaner Clothing

As established previously, hard water simply isn’t gentle. This means that it is likely to have a harsh reaction to whatever it comes into contact with. If it’s your hair or face, it can dry it out, if it’s your clothing in the laundry, it can result in wear of the clothing. That’s right, another benefit of a water softening system is that it will make your clothes cleaner and softer, preserving them for longer than if you continued using hard water to wash them. In addition to drying out the fabrics the same way hard water dries out your skin, the high concentration of minerals may be more difficult for the laundry detergent to cut through, leaving your clothes dirty. Soft water on the other hand won’t leave any sort of build up or residue and will leave your clothes just as soft as when they were first put in the washing machine.

Clogged Drains: Common Culprits that Cause Household Clogs

Tired of dealing with pesky household clogs? The first step is to learn what’s causing them. The reality is there are a variety of items that could be responsible for clogged drains, but there are a few that are more likely than others. 

Cummings Plumbing Heating & Cooling, a plumbing and HVAC company located in Tucson, Arizona, provide their insight into the most common culprits of clogged household drains. 



The number one clogged drain culprit? You guessed it — hair! According to Cummings Plumbing, hair is one of the most common causes of a clogged drain, especially a shower or bathtub drain. This is because when hair becomes wet, such as when you’re taking a shower, it is able to attach itself to almost anything — and this includes pipes and drains. Over time, a build up of hair can result in a large back up. In part, this is because not only does the hair build up, but the strands then have the ability to stick to or “catch” other common drain cloggers, such as residue from soap. Luckily, there is a way to avoid hair clogs in the future. You can easily find screens or special filters for the top of the drain to keep the hair out. These drain covers will allow the water through, but keep the hair out, so at the end of your shower you can discard your hair in the garbage or compost, preventing it from getting sucked down the drain.


Grease and Oil

Another common culprit for household clogs is grease. Grease and oil are often responsible for a kitchen sink clog. This is because, similar to hair, grease will stick to anything, which is a recipe for disaster when it comes to pipes. The grease or oil will harden as it cools, sticking to the pipe, and on top of that, it will stick to food or other items that end up going down your drain, resulting in a major build up. Unfortunately, there is no magic trick when it comes to grease in a drain, the simplest way to avoid this type of clog is to simply not put grease down the drain. Cummings Plumbing of Tucson, Arizona, recommends disposing of grease or oil the same way you would household chemicals (i.e. pouring the substance into a disposable container and throwing it in the garbage). 


Non-Degradable Food

Many people fail to realize that not all food is suitable to go down your sink. In fact, there are many foods, even those that are biodegradable, that can cause clogs in your pipes. In addition, any foods that have trouble being ground up in your garbage disposal should not go down your sink. These include eggshells, uncooked pasta, nuts, or other high fiber foods. Cummings Plumbing of Tucson, Arizona, warns that in addition to clogged pipes, putting non-degradable food down your drain can also lead to some pretty bad odors. They recommend installing a garbage disposal, if you don’t already have one, and generally avoiding putting any large scraps of food down the drain.


Paper Products

When it comes to clogged drains, most people think of their kitchen sink or shower. But there is another drain that frequently gets clogged: the toilet. This is why paper products are listed as one of the most common culprits of household clogs. The pipes on most toilets are only equipped to handle thin paper products, such as toilet paper. However, some people believe that any paper product, ranging from napkins to paper towels to hand wipes, is fair game. This is a myth, shares Cummings Plumbing. If throwing these types of paper products down the drain hasn’t already clogged it, they likely will in the future. Instead, do your best to flush nothing other than toilet paper down the toilet.

Emergency Plumbing: What to Do with a Leaky Pipe

A leaky pipe is one of the most common plumbing issues people face. However, very few people know the proper way to go about fixing one. Worse, in a plumbing emergency, every second counts, which can make matters even more stressful if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

Cummings Plumbing Heating and Cooling, a plumbing and HVAC company based in Tucson, Arizona, provide their expertise on fixing pipes. The company specializes in repairing and installing all types of units, including plumbing, heating, and cooling systems. 

Step One: Turn Off the Water Supply Valve 

According to Cummings Plumbing, the very first step in fixing a leaky or burst pipe should be to turn off the water supply valve. Before starting to fix the problem, you first need to ensure that no water is going to spurt out at you, so locating and switching off the supply water valve is a must. If you aren’t sure which water supply valve supplies the water to the specific pipe that is leaking, then it’s best just to shut off the main supply valve for the time being. From there, you can buy yourself some time until a plumber arrives. 

Step Two: Clean Up the Mess

Whether you have a minor leak with drops of water slowly seeping out or a sudden burst resulting in a small flood in your kitchen, cleaning up the mess should be the second step in fixing your leaky pipe. Cummings Plumbing Heating and Cooling of Tucson, Arizona, recommends not only cleaning up the bottom of the cabinet where the water might be concentrated, but also the leaky pipe itself and any surrounding fixtures. Further, you’ll want to mop up the floor if any water has spread there and clear out the cabinet and surrounding areas where your plumber will have to work. 

Step Three: Assess and Smooth Out the Leaky Pipe

Now that the area is clean, it’s time to prepare your leaky pipe for your temporary patch. Before you patch up a leaky pipe, you must take time to assess and properly prepare the area for the patch. This includes checking to make sure there is no rust, limescale, or rough edges on the surface of the pipe, as well as using sandpaper to smooth out any build up on the pipe. This will not only be good for your pipes in the long term, but it will make your temporary patch more effective and give it a better chance of holding up against water flow, should you need to turn your water back on before a plumber can fix it. 

Step Four: Seal the Leak Via a Temporary Patch

The fourth and final step regarding what to do with a leaky pipe is to seal the leak using a temporary patch. If you don’t have time to wait for a plumber and want to take matters into your own hands, Cummings Plumbing of Tucson, Arizona, recommends temporarily sealing the pipes by using plumber’s epoxy, available at most local hardware stores. All you need to do before applying it to your pipe is to mix it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Remember to mold the silly putty-like epoxy to fit the gap in your pipe exactly. Then, smooth out the edges and let it dry for however long as the instructions dictate. Applying this seal or patch is a great way to fix the problem temporarily; however, it isn’t a long term solution. While doing the proper research, including reading articles like these, can help you temporarily fix a leaky pipe on your own, it is possible to make things worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. Thus, if you’re ever unsure of your DIY plumbing skills, it is highly recommended that you call a professional. 

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