Winter weather can wreak havoc on your plumbing system by causing pipes to freeze over or bust. A burst pipe could cause significant damage to your home and leave you with problems like water damage, mold, moisture issues, and other costly repairs. That’s why it’s crucial to prepare your plumbing system for winter before temperatures drop. Here are 8 tips to prevent a burst pipe this winter:
1. INSULATE PIPES
Pipes located outdoors or along exterior walls are most likely to freeze over and burst. The best way to keep these pipes in good shape is to protect them from the cold by wrapping them in an insulating material. Popular pipe insulators include heat tape, fiberglass insulation, and polyethylene foam. If you aren’t sure which type of pipe insulation is best for your needs, an expert can help you find a good option.
2. SHUT OFF YOUR WATER
Outdoor plumbing is particularly susceptible to freezing, which is why it’s important to shut off water to outdoor pipes as soon as temperatures drop. Once you shut off the valve, remember to drain the pipes so they won’t spend the whole winter full of stagnant water. You can also use this time to roll up and store any garden hoses to prevent them from becoming damaged in the cold.
3. LET YOUR FAUCET DRIP
Letting your faucet drip may seem like a waste of water and money. However, a dripping faucet lowers the pressure inside of your plumbing system, which can prevent pipes from bursting or breaking in the winter weather. The small spike in water usage could be worth avoiding costly damages to your plumbing system or home. To keep water pressure low, you can keep one or two faucets dripping throughout your home.
4. SEAL CRACKS AROUND THE HOUSE
Cracks around your home can bring cold air indoors, which may put your plumbing system at risk. Once temperatures begin to drop, go around your house and seal off any cracks with caulk. It’s particularly important to look along vents, windows, and any visible pipes. Sealing off these openings can protect your plumbing system while reducing thermal energy loss, which could also save you money on heating bills.
5. OPEN INTERIOR DOORS
Keeping your home warm is a great way to protect your plumbing system from the cold. One cost-effective way to evenly heat your home is to keep your interior doors open. You can even go one step further and open up your cabinet doors, which allows the warmth to reach all the way up to the walls and heat your pipes.
6. KEEP THE GARAGE DOOR SHUT
Garage doors are large, which allows a lot of cold air to enter your home. Keeping your garage door shut is a great way to preserve warmth and prevent your pipes from getting too cold. If you have pipes running throughout your garage, it is particularly important for you to keep the garage door closed.
7. DON’T TURN OFF YOUR THERMOSTAT
Many of us turn off our thermostats when we leave for work, vacation, or anything else. While this can save electricity and utility bills, it could make your home too cold and cause your pipes to freeze over and burst. Thankfully, you don’t have to keep your home sweltering to keep your pipes safe. To protect your plumbing system from the cold, we recommend keeping your thermostat at 50 F or warmer.
8. CALL AN EXPERT
Winterizing your plumbing system is an important step in keeping your home safe throughout the cold season. Though this process can feel overwhelming, you don’t have to do it all alone! A plumbing expert, like those at Pacific Plumbing & Drain, have the tools and experience needed to keep your plumbing in great shape all winter long. Our licensed plumbers serve the Vancouver WA and greater Portland OR area, and we are dedicated to providing you with superior solutions tailored to your needs. If you need help preparing your plumbing for winter, call us today!