We all know that water expands when it freezes. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your outdoor plumbing is ready for the cold winter temperatures. Ice cubes in your refrigerator don’t pose a problem but frozen pipes can spell disaster.
The good news is that you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of a problem this winter. Here are a few tips for you to consider as you prepare your outdoor plumbing for the winter.
- Disconnect hoses. A water filled hose left out in the cold weather will freeze! If the hose is connected to the faucet, ice can back up into the pipes in your home which can cause the pipe to crack!
- If your outdoor faucets have shut-off valves, close them. Then open the tap and drain the lines. You can leave the faucets open until next spring.
- Add insulated covers to your hose bibs. These covers are inexpensive and slow the heat loss from a pipe as it travels through the wall out into the cold.
- If you have a sprinkler system, be sure to drain and winterize. You may need to hire a professional or you can check your operating manual for instructions.
- During an extreme cold spell, you may want to keep the faucets running. A slow trickle acts as a pressure relief to help prevent frozen pipes from cracking. Don’t leave a faucet running, however, if it is on an outside wall as the drain can potentially freeze causing the sink to overflow.
- Also during a cold spell, you can open the cabinet door in your kitchen to provide a little heat to the pipes underneath the sink.
- If you have water lines in your garage, you may want to insulate the garage door and/or all the walls.
- If you have pipes in a crawl space or attic, use heat cable and wrap it with pipe insulation. Using pipe insulation alone can actually prevent warm air from getting to the pipes which is why heat cable is an important addition.
- Shut the water off at the main shutoff valve if you’re going out of town. By doing so, if the pipes do freeze and crack, you’ll have far less damage. You should also shut off the automatic ice maker.
- While gutters are not a plumbing item, cleaning them before the cold, wet weather settles in is smart. Clogged gutters lead to standing water which can lead to water getting under shingles or between walls.
Taking these steps can help eliminate problems but if they arise, contact E&K Contractors for winter plumbing help.