As winter approaches, the cold weather puts your pipes at risk. You should prep your pipes beforehand and ensure they’re kept in good working order. This maintenance can be the difference between burst pipes and not having to make those repairs.
We all have pipes in unheated areas. These pipes can freeze with water in them if they lack temperature support. The solution is to insulate them. Use heat tape or pipe insulation and wrap exposed pipes. Do this in any area that isn’t heated through the winter, such as basements and garages. Also, insulate the plumbing under sinks or in closets.
Keep Your Heat On
At night, while you’re away at work, keep your heat on at home. The same goes for if you go away for a multi-day or multi-week vacation. If you keep your house warm, this is going to protect your plumbing. If you turn the temperature completely off, you run more of a risk of a burst pipe which is not something you want to come home to after time away.
A Wi-Fi thermostat means you can monitor the temperature from your smartphone. You can set alerts to notify you if there’s a temperature drop or anything of the sort. If you are installing other smart home accessories or smart home security, consider a Wi-Fi thermometer. It can’t be unsaid how important maintaining heat in the home is to your plumbing during frosty temperatures.
Install Heat Cable
Heat cables are ideal for vulnerable pipes. Plus, they are better than insulation. These cables use an internal thermostat to turn heat on and off as needed according to the pipe’s temperature. This is appropriate for any area where you know your pipes are highly likely to freeze. The issue with heat cables are they need an accessible outlet which can be trouble. They are also more expensive than insulation. In most homes, insulation will be more than enough to do the trick.
Open Cupboard Doors
If your exposed pipes are closed up in a cabinet or a cupboard, open the doors. This will allow warm air to circulate around them and help regulate their temperature. This will further prevent freezing. You can do this in the bathroom, kitchen, and basement. Some may choose to take the cupboard doors right off their hinges for the season.
Check for Leaks
A leaky pipe is the worst thing in winter because what can happen is the small amount of water leaking out can freeze and that will lead to a burst pipe. Check today for signs of a leak before the winter weather really hits. If there are pipes in areas you can’t reach, consider contacting a professional plumber to drop in for an inspection. It doesn’t hurt, especially if you haven’t had an inspection done in some time.
Drain Water from Outdoor Faucets
Turn off the water supply to the outdoor faucet and fully drain any water from them. Drain the water from hoses and bring the hoses inside. Any pipes leading outside like this should be fully closed, cut off, and drained. It ensures no water left in the pipeline to expand and crack your plumbing.
Seal Around Rim Joists
A rim joist is where cold air can get in. Any cracks or holes like this can be easily sealed with expandable foam and insulted between the floor joists. You don’t want to insulate pipe from heated temperatures from the rest of the house, however. This is one for holes leading to outside where cables, wires, or pipes are passing through. Insulate where you can. Seal drafts, as it will further minimize contact to cold temperatures.
Drain Your Water Heater
When you drain your water heater, you suck out any sediment buildup. This will help the water heater perform more efficiently throughout the winter. It won’t have to work as hard. The water heater will also likely last longer if you drain it once a year before winter and it will be faster to heat.
Install Frost-Free Sill Cocks
Frost-free sill cocks are built to place the valve, seat, and washer inside the wall rather than right at the faucet. This will prevent any damage from expanding water. If a sillcock is installed, it has a downward pitch. Water will drain every time it is turned off at the knob, leaving behind nothing to cause any trouble.
Shut Off the Water
If you know you won’t be at home all winter long, how to prepare your plumbing for winter is simple. Step one – turn off the water. Step two – drain your pipes. This way, you remove all water from your pipes, ensuring there is nothing to cause any damage. A property with the water supply cut off and the pipes drained won’t pose any threat.