Are Preparing Your Home Plumbing for Winter?
Plumbing for Winter Tip 1: Insulate Your Pipes
This is one of the easiest steps you can take to prevent frozen pipes. Start by searching your home for exposed pipes. They could be in your attic, basement, or even under your floor. If you find pipes in areas that don’t receive adequate heat, then you should insulate them.
Wrap the pipes with insulation that will protect them from the bitter cold. Insulating foam doesn’t cost much. It’s also very easy to install.
Note that you should also insulate any outdoor spigots and hose bibs. Several manufacturers make insulating products that fit right over them. Many hose bibs also have shut-off valves. If yours does, turn off the water so that it can’t reach the outside.
Plumbing for Winter Tip 2: Fix Leaky Pipes
Leaky pipes tend to freeze more easily than those that aren’t leaking. That makes it important for you to search the interior and exterior of your home for even small leaks.
Do this before the temperatures drop too far. Once a leaky pipe freezes, you’ll have a hard time fixing (you also run the risk of the pipe bursting, which could lead to mold and other problems that you do not want).
If you have insulated pipes (good for you!), you can check for leaks by feeling around the insulation for wet areas. Any moist area probably indicates a leak. Remove the insulation for a closer look.
Plumbing for Winter Tip 3: Winterize Your Sprinkler System
Most sprinkler systems are designed to handle cold weather. Still, you want to give them some extra protection, so they don’t break before the spring thaw.
Start by turning off the water running to the sprinkler system. Once you have turned off the source, remove water from the irrigation system so that it cannot freeze. Newer systems usually have drains that will eliminate the water automatically. If yours does not, or you aren’t sure whether it does, then you can drain the pipes manually by turning on the sprinklers and letting them run until they stop putting out water.
Winter can bring hard times to household pipes. By taking a few preventative steps, though, you can give your pipes a fighting chance no matter how cold it gets.