Frozen pipes can mean big trouble in and around a home. A hard freeze can lead to broken and busted pipes and other plumbing fixtures, which can cause water damage and increased water bills. Fortunately, preventing frozen pipes is not overly difficult if you are willing to put in the time and effort to do the job.
Tips for Winterizing Your Pipes
- Outside – Drain and store garden hoses. Shut off all the outside spigots when possible. If it is necessary to use a garden hose during the winter months, the hose should be drained after use and put away again. Hoses left attached to spigots can freeze and damage both the hose and the spigot.
Attempt to shield the water meter from excessive wind and cold. Even simple cardboard can help prevent cold winds from freezing and breaking a water meter.
- Inside – It is best to insulate all pipes that will be exposed to cold. Hardware stores offer several options for insulation material, including heated versions. Heating is a good option when there is significant risk of freezing in spite of basic insulation.
Open up cabinets where water pipes are located to allow the heated air inside the home to keep them warm. Avoid lowering the thermostat below 55 degrees, even while away from the home. The extra heating bill is less expensive than renovating a flooded home.
Sealing and insulating the home wherever possible is also recommended. External pipes entering the home often come with gaps in the wall where they are located – gaps where cold air can enter. Seal up all gaps, including those found around windows and doors. This will have an added benefit of lowering the heating bill. When possible, it is also a good idea to place insulation in walls where pipes are located.
- Leaving the house for extended periods – If one is leaving the home for long enough that keeping the heat on is impractical, it is best to shut off the water at the point where it enters the home. This, combined with draining the remaining water left in the pipes by turning on the faucets, will ensure there is no water left to freeze.
- Sprinklers – Turning off the sprinkler system will not eliminate the risk of a freeze. It is best to have a professional come out and blow out the water left in the sprinkler system to guarantee protection.
If you would like to learn more about how to winterize your pipes and other plumber training, enroll in one of our exciting plumbing programs at Vatterott!