Freezing temperatures are a part of life in many areas of the United States, and they can do serious damage to plumbing if you don’t take time to prepare. When temperatures get cold, the water inside your pipes expands as it freezes. If you don’t protect your plumbing for winter, you could experience a flooded basement, burst pipes, and other plumbing headaches. Get your plumbing system ready for cold weather by following these tips.
Shut Off Outdoor Faucets to Protect Your Plumbing
Now that you are done using your hose for the year, you need to winterize your outdoor faucets. As you prepare your plumbing for winter, disconnect any hoses. Completely close the shutoff valve inside of your home.
Next, open the outdoor faucet so that the water between the shutoff valve and hose bib can drain. Once you’re done, you can turn the hose off again. Draining all the water is essential, as any water left in exterior pipes can freeze.
Invest in Frost-Free Hose Bibs or Hose Bib Covers
If you live in a cold state where temperatures are often well below freezing, investing in frost-free hose bibs and hose bib covers is a smart idea. These are both designed to withstand cold temperatures and offer your exterior faucets greater protection. Even better, these can add value to your home if you decide to sell.
Turn Off the Water When Leaving
Beyond one-time preparations you should do to protect your plumbing for winter, you should also shut off your water whenever you leave for more than 48 hours.
Shutting off the water in your home ensures that if a pipe bursts and an accident occurs while you are gone, the damage will be as minimal as possible.
Check Your Grading and Drainage
Many homeowners take time to prepare interior plumbing for winter and forget about the outdoor plumbing features, like drains. Check your outdoor drainage to ensure that there are no leaves blocking the grate.
If you have plastic drains, consider investing in metal drains that will hold up to cold temperatures and heavy snow without cracking. A home inspector can visit your property to ensure the grading allows for proper drainage and that your outdoor plumbing is in good working order.
Keep Your Home Warm to Protect the Plumbing this Winter
Saving money on your heating bills is a great idea, but not when it comes at the expense of your pipes. Always keep your thermostat set no lower than 55 degrees.
If your home is poorly insulated, your pipes are not wrapped to protect them, or you notice extreme variations in temperature throughout your house, keeping it no lower than 68 degrees is the safest option.