Temperatures are beginning to drop and there are some tasks to take care of around the house. You may have a long to-do list to get your home ready for winter, including protecting your pipes from freezing. Use the following tips to winterize your plumbing to prepare for cold weather.
Winterize Your Plumbing
When temperatures drop below freezing, water in your plumbing pipes will turn to ice. This causes the water to expand and pipes to crack or rupture. When the water thaws, leaks and sometimes major flooding may occur. When you take steps to winterize your plumbing, you prevent broken pipes, leaks, and water damage to your home.
Insulate the Pipes
Protect pipes in unheated areas like the attic or garage. Use foam pipe insulation to cover exposed pipes that may freeze. In cold parts of the country, insulation may not be enough. In this case, fix heating cables to the pipes before covering them in insulation. The heat tape will produce steady warmth and the insulation helps maintain that temperature.
Shut Off Outdoor Faucets to Winterize Your Plumbing
Drain water from outdoor faucets as you winterize your plumbing. Turn off the water at the faucet’s shutoff valve and then open the tap to empty the pipe. Removing the water keeps the pipe from being damaged by ice inside the plumbing.
Insulate the Garage Door
If there are water lines inside the garage, insulate your garage door. Use batting insulation or foam board to add a layer of protection against the cold. Garage door insulation kits are available at your local home improvement store. Place a portable heater inside your garage on extremely cold days.
Winterize Your Plumbing for When You’re Away
A new thermostat can help protect your pipes when you’re away from home. Installing a smart thermostat provides remote access to control the temperature of your home even when you’re away.
If you’re leaving the house for a long vacation, one strategy is to set the thermostat high enough to keep your home sufficiently warm. A second way to handle trips out-of-town is to turn off the water supply and drain the pipes before you leave.
Leave Cabinet Doors Open
On very cold days, open your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. This step will allow the home’s warm air to circulate beneath the sinks, keeping the pipes warmer. If frozen pipes are a concern, especially when the sink is located on an exterior wall, use a space heater just outside of the cabinets to keep the area warm.
Open the Tap
When the temperatures drop below freezing, turn on the faucets to a slow drip. Allowing the water to run will relieve pressure inside the pipes and helps prevent water from freezing and causing plumbing problems.
Maintain a Safe Temperature During Cold Snaps
Pay close attention to your home’s temperature during periods of extremely cold weather. Turn your thermostat up a degree or two to make sure the indoor temperature doesn’t drop into a range that becomes dangerous to your pipes.