Plumbing Tips to Prepare Your Pipes from Freezing
Once summer has ended it’s time to start preparing your pipes for the winter. According to Water Damage Restore, 80% of the water damage jobs they encounter could’ve been prevented by proper pipe maintenance and seasonal preparation.
Winter Plumbing Preparation
1. Winterize outside faucets. Since they’re exposed to the elements, this is an important task. Disconnect and drain water hoses, and shut off the water supply to the outside spigots if your home or business has a separate shutoff valve. The same procedure is done for an outdoor kitchen faucet. If water left in the faucet freezes, it can cause a buildup of pressure that could make a pipe burst inside or underneath your home.
2. Insulate water pipes in unheated areas. Water lines that run through the garage, crawl space or attic are prone to freezing when the temperature drops. Add a layer of insulation by wrapping them with heat tape, newspaper, or foam sleeves. For even more freeze protection, keep the garage door shut on very cold days to protect the pipes there.
3. Get your furnace checked. If your furnace quits on you in the middle of winter, your home will be without heat until it’s repaired, leaving your water pipes vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Make sure your heating system working efficiently before the cold weather hits.
4. Open cabinets and run water. If it’s very cold outside, or if some rooms of your house get colder than others, leaving the cabinet doors under sinks will allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. You can also let a trickle of water run through the faucets to prevent them from freezing. This is helpful for mobile homes, where cold air circulates below the floor.
5. Plan for travel. Whether you’re a snowbird heading south for the winter, or just going on an extended family visit, it may be tempting to shut off your furnace while you’re gone to save money. However, doing so could cost you $1,000s of dollars in water damage from a burst pipe. Instead, keep the thermostat set to at least 55 degrees. You can also shut off the main water supply and then turn on each faucet to drain the water from the pipes.
6. Call a pro. Professional plumbers like us can install heat tape to keep your water pipes warm, or even re-route freeze-prone pipes away from exterior walls.