Winter weather is just around the corner. In the fall, homeowners spend time getting the house ready for the colder months ahead. Caulking gaps around windows, having the HVAC system inspected and repaired, and cleaning the gutters are all necessary as the temperatures drop. Take steps to prepare your plumbing for winter and help prevent burst pipes and water damage.
Disconnect Your Garden Hose to Prepare Plumbing for Winter
In late fall, disconnect the garden hose, drain it, and store it inside for the winter. Water in the hose can back up into the pipes. If the water freezes, the pipe can rupture. Removing the garden hose and shutting off the water to outdoor faucets will help protect your pipes.
Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter by Insulating Pipes
Before winter arrives, insulate exposed plumbing pipes on your property. These pipes might be in the garage, basement, and attic. Apply heat tape, which is an affordable electrical heating device that plugs into an outlet. Heat tape has a thermostat to help control the temperature of the pipes. Alternately, you can wrap the pipes in foam insulation to help maintain the temperature.
Keep the Heat On
If you are planning to leave town for an extended period of time, you may be tempted to turn off your home’s heat to save money. If there is a chance of freezing temperatures while you’re away, leave the heat on and leave inside doors open so air can circulate.
Your furnace doesn’t have to be set to a normal, comfortable temperature, but leave it about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer air temperature in your home will help keep pipes from freezing.
Leave Taps to Drip
When the temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing, turn on the tap to allow the faucet to drip. The dripping faucet helps prevent water from freezing and will relieve some of the pressure if the pipes do begin to freeze. By permitting a slow drip, you can prevent burst pipes.
Warm Pipes Under the Sink
When it’s cold outside, the pipes on exterior walls are the most likely to freeze. Open the cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around the pipes. In extremely frigid weather, set a space heater on the floor a few feet from the cabinet to help warm the pipes.