Cold temperatures can be harsh on your home. The system that is most vulnerable to the impacts of freezing temperatures is plumbing. Take steps to prepare your plumbing for winter to reduce the chances of burst pipes, leaks, and water damage. Keep your home safe and prevent costly repairs by following the steps outlined below.
Turn Off Outdoor Faucets to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter
Turning off the outdoor tap isn’t enough to protect it from freezing. To prepare your plumbing for cold weather, find the shutoff valve for the outdoor faucet and turn it off. Next, open the outdoor faucet so the water inside the pipe runs out. Once all of the water has drained, turn off the faucet. There will be no water trapped inside to freeze when temperatures drop.
Maintain a Safe Temperature Inside the House
Reducing your energy consumption in the winter is an excellent way to lower your heating bills, but you should never set the thermostat below 55 degrees. When temperatures drop below 55, the chance of pipes freezing in your home increases.
If you live in an area with a very cold climate, open cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen on freezing days. This will allow the heated air in your home to circulate beneath the cabinets, warming the pipes.
Use Heat Cables to Prepare Plumbing for Winter
If you have pipes in your home that are exposed to cold temperatures, like those running along exterior walls, installing heat tape reduces the risk of the pipes freezing. Heat tape adjusts the temperature of the pipes and cycles the heat on and off to protect the plumbing. For a more affordable option, use foam insulation on pipes in the attic and basement.
Dispose of Grease Properly
When you cook during the holidays and throughout the winter, don’t pour grease or oil down the sink. These substances congeal and will solidify much more quickly when the pipes are cold. Grease can cause the drain to become blocked and you may need a plumber’s assistance to remedy the issue.
Turn Off the Water Before Leaving for Vacation
If you are leaving for the weekend or to visit family for the holidays, turn off the water to your home before you hit the road. Even if you take steps to prevent issues, if a pipe bursts while you are gone, you could return home to major water damage.
Leave Faucets Dripping on Cold Nights
When temperatures are below freezing for an extended period, leave the tap turned on slightly. Allow the faucet to drip to help prevent the pipes from freezing. Even a slow drip is often enough to keep water flowing, and moving water is less likely to freeze.