PLUMBING WINTERIZATION TIPS
As 2017 comes to a close, we are finally starting to see the freezing temperatures arrive. As you begin to pull out your winter coats, don’t forget that your home or business also needs some protection against the elements! You don’t want to the damage and costly repairs caused by frozen pipes to dampen your end of the year holiday spirit.
Here are some simple plumbing tips that’ll help get you prepared:
- Clear your rain gutters and downspouts. That pile of leaves and debris can block drainage, causing water to back up into your walls, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage. Rain water can also freeze into heavy blocks of ice, which will pull the gutters away from your home, shortening their lifespan and creating an overhead ice hazard.
- Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected, water in the hoses can freeze and expand causing faucets and connecting pipes inside your home to freeze and break.
- Put a “sweater” on your outside faucets. Pick up a few Styrofoam faucet insulation kits from your local home improvement store. They’re very inexpensive, easy to install, and they protect against freezing temperatures
- Take care of dripping or leaky faucets. Either do it yourself or call a plumber, but make sure they’re fixed before freezing temperatures arrive. When leaky pipes freeze, water pressure can build – causing cracks in plastic, copper and even steel pipes. Just a tiny crack can unleash enough water to cause serious damage or flooding.
- Do you have interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets? If so, close them and drain water from the outside lines.
- Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as garages or crawl spaces. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing.
- Caulking and weather-stripping drafty doors and windows goes a long way in keeping out the cold air and moisture, making them much more energy efficient.
- Get your water heater ready, it’s going to be quite busy during winter months.
- Make sure your sump pump is working properly by inspecting and cleaning it. Pumps exposed to extreme cold can freeze, preventing it from operating.
- Going away for a few days? Shut off the main water valve and drain the system by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Don’t turn your heat off! Make sure the heat is left on and set no lower than 55°F.