Winter often brings delightful wonderland scenes, but it also results in some unique challenges for homeowners, especially when it comes to plumbing. Frozen pipes, burst fittings, and water damage are common issues during the colder months. To avoid these costly and inconvenient problems, winterizing your home’s plumbing system is crucial.
Winter Plumbing Tips
Here are some essential tips and tricks to help you safeguard your plumbing ahead of time and keep your home cozy and dry throughout the winter. If you have questions or need help with any of these projects, give Beemer Plumbing a call. We’ll be there in no time to help you out!
1. Insulate Exposed Pipes
Insulating exposed pipes is one of the first steps in winterizing your plumbing. Start by checking the basement, crawl spaces, and attic areas, where pipes are most vulnerable to the cold. Adding insulating materials like foam sleeves or heat tape can help maintain a stable temperature and prevent the pipes from freezing when temperatures dip.
2. Let Faucets Drip
It’s no secret that water turns into ice when temperatures drop below freezing. This is okay if you’re building an ice rink, but it’s not so good when it happens in your plumbing. Allowing faucets to drip slowly during extreme cold spells helps keep standing water in the pipes from freezing. A constant trickle of water keeps the water flowing and minimizes the risk of frozen pipes. Especially vulnerable are rooms on the north side of the house.
3. Disconnect Outdoor Hoses
Before the temperature drops, disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses and faucets. This simple step can help prevent water from freezing in the hose and causing damage to the faucet.
4. Seal Gaps and Cracks
Inspect areas where the plumbing pipes enter your home and seal any gaps or cracks. Use weather-stripping, caulk, or expanding foam to prevent cold air from seeping in and compromising your plumbing.
5. Maintain Adequate Temperatures Inside
Keep the inside of the house at a consistent temperature, even if you’re not home. The inside temperature should never drop below 55°F (13°C). Maintaining a minimum indoor temperature will ensure your pipes stay above the freezing point. This is especially crucial if you’re leaving on vacation. You don’t want to come back to a flooded house!
6. Open Cabinet Doors
In cold areas like kitchens and bathrooms, leave cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing. This helps keep pipes inside these cabinets from freezing.
7. Drain Your Sprinkler System
If you have an underground sprinkler system, don’t forget to drain it before winter hits. Water left in the pipes can freeze, causing the pipes to burst. This can be a costly mistake! Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or seek the help of an experienced plumber if needed.
8. Winterize Vacant Properties
If you have a second home or vacation property, it’s essential to winterize the plumbing before leaving for an extended period. Drain the pipes and consider shutting off the water supply completely to prevent any nasty surprises upon your return.
9. Consider Pipe Heating Cables
For especially vulnerable pipes, installing heating cables around your pipes can be a worthwhile precaution. These cables are designed to wrap around pipes and provide consistent heat to prevent them from freezing.
10. Get a Professional Inspection
If you’re unsure how to proceed or have concerns about your plumbing, it’s a good idea to schedule an inspection of your plumbing system by licensed professionals. A qualified plumber — like Beemer Plumbing — will assess your plumbing system and provide expert guidance on preparing for winter weather.
Make Sure Your Plumbing System Is Ready for Winter!
Winterizing your home’s plumbing system is an essential part of home maintenance during the cold months. Beemer Plumbing can help with all these steps and more. We’ll inspect your system while we’re there and point out trouble areas that need attention, which helps prevent inconvenient and costly damage that could be avoided.
Don’t let the chill catch you off guard. Protect your plumbing now and enjoy a worry-free winter. Call Beemer Plumbing today!