Winter Plumbing Tips

Be Prepared for Cold Weather Ahead

With cold weather dead ahead now is the time to do a few simple plumbing tasks to avoid major issues later this winter.

Frozen pipes are the #1 contributor to water damage in any home.  Ensuring that your water pipes are well insulated can avoid thousands of dollars of water damage when temperatures drop below freezing.

Starting outside you’ll want to do the following:

  1. Disconnect your outside hoses, drain them of any remaining water, and store them in your garage or shed. This will keep them from freezing and the plastic hose from splitting.
  2. Make sure you do not leave any hoses connected to your outdoor faucets. This can lead to your faucet freezing and breaking causing significant water damage. You will also want to check your faucets for any leaks and drips, and fix these prior to cold weather setting in.
  3. Close any interior shut-off valve that is connected to the outside faucets and plumbing. Open the outdoor faucets to eliminate any remaining water in the line that could freeze.
  4. Clean out your gutters of leaves and other debris. This ensures that water flows away from your home and prevents water from entering your home and causing mold and foundation issues.

frozen faucet

Disconnect all hoses from your outdoor water spigots.

These are areas to address inside your home:

  1. Insulate any pipes in non-heated areas like crawl spaces or garages. Frozen pipes increase the chances of a pipe bursting, which can cause hundreds of dollars in water damage to your home.  Recommended pipe insulation thickness is around 3/4 inch (19mm).
  2. Seal any gaps where pipes enter your home. These gaps permit cold air to enter through them, which not only impacts your utility bill, but can even cause pipes to freeze. Seal gaps with weather stripping, caulking, and insulation.
  3. For those with water heaters and softeners in their garages, make sure the seal around your garage door is tight, and put insulation blankets around your appliances.
  4. Fix leaky plumbing, dripping faucets and slow flowing drains now. Annoying problems now can lead to major repairs when exacerbated by winter weather. Any work that must be done outside to repair clogged or broken drainpipes will be more difficult, and expensive, when the ground is frozen.
insulated pipes

Insulating exposed pipes in your crawlspace and basement helps avoid pipes splitting open due to the cold.

Going Out of Town for a Few Days or Months

If you take an annual winter vacation, head south for a couple of months, or just go away for a long weekend, set your home’s thermostat between 50 and 60 degrees. If you have areas in your home where temperatures are cooler, like along exterior walls where water lines are located, you may need to turn the thermostat up higher.

If you are gone for an extended period of time, you should shut off your water valve and drain all faucets. In cold climates, leaving your cabinet doors open will allow warmer air to get to pipes that are located under the cabinets and along the outside wall of your home.

Brenneco Plumbing logoBrenneco Plumbing Can Help

For those repairs that you can’t handle yourself, Brenneco Plumbing is happy to visit your home or commercial property to make any necessary repairs.  Just give us a call at 765-448-6190.

Don’t get caught in the middle of the winter with frozen or broken water pipes.  Water damage from broken pipes can be extensive.  Check now to avoid bigger issues when the temperatures drop.