How can you prepare your home’s plumbing for winter?
To prevent pipes from freezing or burst, winterize your home’s plumbing system as the weather turns colder. Taking preventative measures now saves you from dealing with expensive and messy plumbing issues when frigid temperatures arrive.
Inspect and repair exposed pipes
Exposed pipes, like outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated areas like garages or crawlspaces, are the most vulnerable to freezing in winter. Start by examining all exposed pipes and looking for any cracks or damage. If you find any leaky or damaged sections, contact a professional plumber to repair or replace pipes before winter hits. Insulating exposed pipes is also key. You use foam tubing insulation or fiberglass insulation wraps to protect outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated areas from freezing. Make sure to waterproof the insulation.
Drain and shut off irrigation systems
If you have an automatic irrigation system or sprinklers, they must be fully drained and shut down for the winter. Any remaining water left in the pipes freeze and crack pipes. Usually, winterizing entails blowing out water from pipes with compressed air, draining irrigation lines, and turning the water off to the sprinkler system. Many irrigation systems and outside faucets have a backflow preventer – a device that prevents contaminated water from flowing back into your home’s clean water supply. Make sure any backflow preventers are in good working order before winter. Test them according to the manufacturer’s instructions or have a professional plumber Sutherland Shire check them.
Disconnect hoses and store indoors
After you’ve shut down your irrigation system for the winter, make sure to disconnect any garden hoses from outdoor faucets and store them indoors to prevent freezing. Install faucet covers over the outdoor faucets to provide an extra layer of protection. Crawlspaces, attics, garages, and basements are prime spots for pipes to freeze in extreme cold if they are not adequately insulated. Inspect pipes in any unheated areas of your home and wrap any exposed pipes with pipe insulation. This is an easy, inexpensive way to provide more protection against freezing. Seal any gaps in insulation with caulk or insulation tape to keep cold air out.
Seal off air leaks and holes
Any external holes or gaps that allow cold air inside increase the chance of pipes freezing. Walk the perimeter of your home and look for gaps and holes in exterior walls, around pipes or electrical wires that enter your home, in the foundation, and near windows and doors. Use caulk and/or insulation to thoroughly seal any holes or air leaks. This helps prevent freezing air from reaching your pipes. Make sure any pipe vents in your home’s attic or roof are not blocked by insulation or debris. Pipe vents allow air to enter and exit the plumbing system and are necessary to prevent pressure differences that lead to burst pipes. Ensure vents are clear so they work properly in winter.