Having water freeze in your home’s plumbing system during frigid NorCal weather can be a very costly experience. Frozen pipes mean that water will not flow properly through the house, and if a pipe bursts, the water damage can be extensive. Fortunately, following these simple tips for winterizing your home’s plumbing system can greatly reduce the risk of a catastrophic event.
Winterizing Your Outdoor Plumbing
- Insulate outdoor pipes — Insulating outdoor pipes with foam pipe insulation sleeves will help prevent cold weather from freezing the water inside.
- Drain and store hoses — Outdoor hoses should be disconnected, completely drained, and stored in a shed, basement, garage, or hose case.
- Drain outdoor water lines — Make sure the valve that supplies water to the outdoor water lines is closed, and then, open the outdoor taps to allow water to drain out of the system.
Winterizing Your Indoor Plumbing
- Monitor the indoor temperature — Keeping the temperature inside the home above 55 degrees will help keep the pipes too warm to freeze.
- Increase warm air flow — Allowing warm air to circulate inside cabinets and closets will keep the air around the pipes warmer.
- Restrict cold air flow — Keeping out the cold air is just as important as keeping warm air circulating.
Keeping out the Cold
- Keep exterior doors and windows closed as much as possible.
- Seal any leaks around windows and doors with weather-stripping.
- Seal off areas behind switch plates and outlet covers with foam gaskets.
- Check for cracks in the exterior walls or foundation, and fill any you find with caulking or expanding spray foam insulation.
- Use fire-resistant materials to insulate areas around the furnace, water heater, and fireplace.
- Insulate indoor pipes — Wrap all accessible indoor pipes and water lines in a layer of electrical tape and, then, a layer of insulation for added protection when temperatures are at their lowest.
Draining Your Pipes
If you are planning on leaving your home for an extended amount of time during a period when freezing temperatures are expected, you should drain your pipes before you go to prevent them from freezing. The first step is to turn off the main water supply to your home’s plumbing system. If you are unsure about how to accomplish this, contact a local licensed plumber or your water service provider for assistance.
After the water supply has been turned off, start removing any water in the pipes by repeatedly flushing the toilets in your home until their tanks are empty. This will remove most of the water from the home’s plumbing. Opening the faucets in sinks, bathtubs, and showers will remove the rest.
Preparing your home’s plumbing system for winter before the weather gets too cold is the best way to prevent freezing pipes and disastrous water damage. For more information about winterizing your home’s plumbing system, contact our team at Steve Beaton Plumbing today.