Exterior gas line covered in ice

5 Tips to Winterize Plumbing and Pipes

by | Nov 22, 2016

While there is a certain belief that your home’s pipes will explode once the water that runs through has reached a freezing point, the process of maintaining your plumbing during the winter season is far more complicated than that. When pressure is allowed to build, this can cause major issues, issues that most homeowners are blissfully unaware of.

That is why it is important to winterize your home’s plumbing and piping, to keep severe problems from having the chance to take place. Expensive water damage is just one of the many risks that we take when we do not winterize and those who are unaware of the necessary steps that they need to take should read on to learn more about the following helpful tips.

1. Insulate Your Pipes

Once the temperatures have dipped below 20° Fahrenheit, your pipes are far more susceptible to the damages associated with freezing. By insulating your pipes, you are providing them with an all-important initial line of defense. If you reside in a region where cold temperatures are the norm, you’ll want to take an added level of precaution when it comes to your winterizing process.

The pipes must be fully insulated in all areas that are unheated, as these are the most likely to freeze. Any hardware supply store will have the tools that you require. Choose insulation tubes made from fiberglass or polyethylene for best results. Measure the diameter of your pipes before purchasing to ensure a proper fit. To add further protection, wrap the pipes in heat tape and read the manufacturer’s instructions first.

2. Create a Steady Drip

If you are expecting particularly cold temperatures on certain nights, it behooves you to turn all of the faucets that are located along the exterior walls, so that a slight and steady drip is created. This does wonders when it comes to eliminating the harmful pressure that can build throughout the course of a night and keeps pressure from forming in between an ice blockage and your faucet. By setting your faucets to drip in such a manner, you are keeping your pipes from bursting, even if they become frozen during the night.

3. Open Up Your Cabinets

Did you know that there are simple ways to introduce more heat into the equation? By opening all of your sink adjacent cabinets that are located along the interior walls of your home before heading off to bed, you are allowing a far greater level of heat to reach your pipes and doing your part to keep them from freezing and bursting during those frigid winter nights.

4. Repair Any and All Exterior Cracks

Take the time to closely examine the exterior of your home. In many instances, there will be slightly imperceptible cracks and crevices that are difficult for the naked eye to see. If there are any cracks or holes to be found on the outside walls or foundation of your residence, you could be placing yourself at risk for winter weather damage. Use foam spray insulation and caulk to fill these holes, so that the cold air does not have a chance to come into contact with your pipes once the winter weather has become a factor.

5. Seal Your Crawlspaces

If you own a beam or pier home with a crawlspace that is ventilated, you’ll need to seal this area off once the winter weather has arrived. Use heavy duty cardboard to seal your vents and be sure to use duct tape to keep it in place. If your home has a basement, take a closer look to make sure that your windows are not cracked. You’ll also want to examine your garage and utility doors so that you can replace any worn or damaged insulation before damages can take place.

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