Bacteria have been shown to live in "premises plumbing systems". The latter refers to the "pipes and fixtures within a building that transport water to taps after it is delivered by the utility". Community water systems have been known for centuries to spread waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera, however "opportunistic premises plumbing pathogens" have been recognized only more recently; Legionella pneumophila discovered in 1976, Mycobacterium avium, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are the most commonly tracked bacteria, which people with depressed immunity can inhale or ingest and may become infected with. These opportunistic pathogens can grow for example in faucets, shower heads, water heaters and along pipe walls. Reasons that favor their growth are "high surface-to-volume ratio, intermittent stagnation, low disinfectant residual, and warming cycles". A high surface-to-volume ratio, i.e. a relatively large surface area allows the bacteria to form a biofilm, which protects them from disinfection.
Another way to avoid a service call from your plumber is to make sure the outside faucets are turned off in the winter and make sure you disconnect the outside hoses. You need to shut the water off from the inside. Then, open the valve on the outside to let the water that’s in there drain out—you switch both of them to the opposite direction so one is always closed and one is always open. We have to fix tons of these in the spring mostly because people leave their outside hoses connected and they freeze up. The repair could cost $100-$200 or more. Another tip would be if you’re going away for any length of time, like on vacation, turn off your water. If on any of those days the temperature drops below freezing, have someone check in on your house. I’ve been called to homes where the family returned from vacation, and there was water flooding out from the front door.
You probably don’t realize how much you have come to depend on your plumbing system on a daily basis. Running a bath, brushing your teeth, boiling water to cook vegetables or grains, running the dishwasher, washing your white clothes, flushing the toilet—the list could go on and on. Most would have difficulty going one day without a modern plumbing system. At Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, our plumbers have been serving our community for nearly 15 years. We offer professional plumbing services throughout the Des Moines, IA area, including installation, replacement, repair, and installation. From grease traps, sump pumps, toilets and garbage disposal units to water heaters, gas piping and bathroom remodeling, we offer a wide range of quality products and services. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and we’re available 24/7 in case something goes wrong after hours. As one of the most important aspects of your home, your plumbing system should be taken care of by a professional plumber. Contact us to discuss your options.