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Holiday season is always busy between cooking, visiting, travelling, and more. Forgetting to take care of our water heaters and sump pumps is easy when there are a hundred other tasks to complete. Proper home maintenance certainly is not as much fun as holiday festivities, but sadly, keeping your home safe is more important!

Recently, we discussed how to winterize your home. As your water heater is vital to your home, we wanted to give extra details about how to keep your heater working properly through the cold months. Additionally, we will provide information about preparing your sump pump for the winter. 

Water Heater Maintenance

Exposed Pipes

Before you go on vacation, or even if you know that the winter will be a cold one, it’s a good idea to insulate your exposed pipes. A burst pipe can cause damage to the walls, floors, ceilings, electric work, and basically anything within your home. Flood Services Canada says that water damage cleanup can range anywhere from $4.00 to $10.00 per square foot. That price does not include the cost of furniture repairs or replacement, or any electrical work. 

Burting pipe

You can use foam with rubber backed tape, foam and foil, foil-backed cotton, rubber pipe insulation tape, or bubble-film pipe wrap. Whatever material you decide on can help prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting. Insulating your hot water pipes can also lower your water-heating costs as you will keep the pipes from radiating excess heat. 

Lastly, your cold water pipes may sweat and become humid if they’re exposed to warm air. The collected condensation can create puddles on floors and add to humidity in your home, which can cause damage. 

Check Thermostat Temperature

You might have the urge to turn your water heater’s thermostat up in the winter. If your temperature is set too high, you will see additional costs in your monthly bills. Moreover, you face the risk of having scalding water. The best temperature for your water heater is 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). Having the thermostat properly set will also prevent bacteria from collecting in your heater. 

If you are really worried about your supply of hot water, talk with a professional about installing a water heater booster. Also known as a tank booster, this device attaches to your electric or gas water heater. Simply put, this addition will heat your water quickly. If the temperature of your hot water drops as you’re using it, the tank booster can bring the heat to the temperature you want.

Look for Corrosion

You will be able to find corrosion in your water heater fairly quickly. If your water holds a rusty colour or your water tank is leaking, then you should get an inspection. Another place to look for corrosion is in your valves. Rust on the outside valves of your tank are a big hint that there is rust inside your tank as well, which means you need a new water heater. 

Often, the cause of water heater erosion is age and mineral or sediment buildup. You can prevent damage and extend the lifespan of your heater by inspecting and draining your water tank yearly. However, most water heaters last for about 10 to 15 years. Eventually you will need a new one! =

Drain and Flush

Most of the time, calling a plumber is the best way to go about draining and flushing your water heater. Doing this task yearly will flush the buildup of minerals and sediments, increasing your heater’s lifespan. While you probably could flush your water heater by yourself, a professional set of eyes can spot hidden problems or issues and prevent you from big damage to your home. 

Sump Pump Maintenance  

What is a sump pump?

If your home has problems with flooding or bursting pipes, you should consider a sump pump. 

Your sump pump moves water from your basement out of your home. Often, the sump sits below the main surface of your basement floor in a constructed pit (technically called a basin). The pump is able to sense when water level

Sump pump photo

s escalate with valves. If there is an excess of water, the sump pump automatically pumps the water away from your home through the discharge line to an area for drainage. Extension hoses are sometimes necessary so you can reach the desired place to drain. 

Preparing sump pump for the winter

Your discharge hose and extension hoses are vulnerable to the cold. When water freezes in your sump pump, your pump will keep trying to push flowing water through the mass of ice. Not only will the water not leave your basement, but also the motor can burn out.

If you are able to place the pipe at a downward slope, the water will flow and prevent freezing in the hoses. There are also freeze-proof extension hoses or insulating your pipes as an option. However, the most full-proof way is to disconnect any extension hoses. 


Your water heater and sump pump are important components to your home. Each winter, you want to make sure that the necessary pipes are insulated, any hoses are detached, the thermostat is set correctly, you don’t see any corrosion, and of course, you’ve made time for your yearly drain and flush. Proper care and routine maintenance of your heater and pump can save you hundreds of dollars in damage. 

Nobody wants to have to call their plumber in the middle of the night, but MacLeod’s Plumbing and Heating has 24/7 emergency services just in case you need to!

MacLeod’s Plumbing and Heating

Whether your water heater is in need of a routine checkup or your pipes have burst, you can contact MacLeod’s Plumbing and Heating. Our family-run business has over 20 years of industry-leading experience under our tool belts! Previous customers have offered great reviews, and we are always ready to help you get to the bottom of any problem. 

Call today for any and all of your heating needs. We get the job done right the first time.


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