With winter upon us, now’s the time to be sure your plumbing system is in tip-top shape and winter ready.
Just what should you be checking for or doing to make it through the season without incident? Read on and find out.
Outdoor Faucets. Start by disconnecting any outdoor hoses that were in use and store them in your garage or basement for the season. If they come into contact with frozen water, they can split. You’ll also want to shut off outdoor faucets at the shutoff valve. Be sure to drain the pipe or it can freeze and crack. At the shutoff valve, open the bleeder cap. If water continues to drip when you think you’ve drained the pipe, you may need to replace your shutoff valve.
Heat Cables. Do you have pipes you’re particularly worried about freezing? Freezing can cause cracking, a major blow to your budget. Heat cables with an integral thermostat can monitor pipe temperature, turning the cables on and off as needed depending on the pipe temperature to prevent such damage. The cables can be purchased at home improvement stores or can be installed by a professional.
Insulation. Pipes vulnerable to damage during the winter season include those located in crawl spaces, attics, basements, and garages. You can pair heat cables with pipe insulation for added peace of mind.
Shut off your water. Have plans to go away for a few days or more? Turn off your home’s main shut off valve while you’re gone. In the event that pipes do freeze and crack while you’re away, you can prevent water from damaging your home’s interior as much as possible. This also applies if you’re trying to sell a property you are not living in. If your refrigerator has an ice maker, also turn that off so that the motor does not burn out.
Keep your temperature constant. It will benefit your systems if you are able to keep your home at a constant temperature during the winter season. This is more easily achieved with programmable thermostats and WiFi-enabled systems.
Open cabinet doors. When the weather is particularly frigid, it may be best to open cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom to allow your home’s heat to reach the piping. You can also leave faucets running a bit as it acts as a relief valve and minimizes the chance of pipes freezing, cracking, or bursting.