Winterizing your plumbing may seem like a hassle, but the cost of not doing it may end up being much higher than you think. It only takes a few hours of low temperatures for water in pipes to begin freezing. As it freezes, it expands, potentially bursting or causing damage to pipes, faucets, hoses and more. Don’t let that happen to your home. Here are seven tips to help you effectively winterize your plumbing and save yourself a headache in the long run!
Learn to Identify Frozen Pipes
If you turn a faucet on and nothing comes out, there’s a good chance you’ve got frozen pipes. If you hear water running somewhere, but know everything is shut off, it could mean you have a leak somewhere as a result of a burst pipe. If that’s the case, turn off the main water lines and begin checking for leaks.
Insulate Your Pipes
Pipe insulation is an inexpensive easy to use solution to help combat winter weather. This is great for unheated spaces in your home, such as crawl spaces, basements, and under sinks. It’s easy to cut and install, and it can be found in most hardware stores. At a cost of approximately 35 cents per foot, it’s an economical way to begin the process of winterizing.
Leave Your Faucets Dripping
Leaving your faucets on a drip or small stream when temperatures are dropping below 1 degree Fahrenheit is an effective way to combat frozen pipes. Running water keeps things moving through the pipes, making sure the water doesn’t have a chance to freeze.
Turn Off Outside Faucets
Turn off all outside faucets and remove any garden hoses or other external accessories that may fill with water and freeze. If you have an external shut-off valve for outside faucets, turn it off and drain the pipes to ensure that no freezing occurs in these areas.
Let the Heat In
Simple steps like leaving cabinet doors open along outside walls so heat can warm the pipes, or placing a small space heater in areas such as a garage with exposed pipes, are great ways to keep things warm and prevent frozen pipes.
Seal Your Crawl Space
Make sure that all vents and doors to your crawl space are closed. There should be no light from outside when you enter your crawl space. If outside light is visible, as mentioned above, caulk any holes through which you can see light.
Leave Your Heat On
Never turn your heat off when you leave home. Keep your thermostats for all heat zones set at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher at all times, even if you’re not home. You may want to increase the temperature if your house tends to be cooler or if you live in an area prone to very cold temperatures as pipes may be more likely to freeze under these circumstances.
Winterizing your plumbing may seem like a difficult task, but these seven tips should get you well on your way to having a safe, warm, and frozen pipe-free winter!