Even though they’re behind your walls, your pipes should have a place at the front of your mind during the winter. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare your pipes for the cold temperatures! Without the proper precautions and maintenance, you could be in for costly repairs that leave you without the water you depend on, maybe even for days at a time.

Before winter makes the mercury drop, there are some precautions you can take to keep your pipes pumping. Properly insulating your pipes is a must to keep your pipes protected. The more insulation, the better. For a little extra, you can have a professional install heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables around your pipes.

Once your pipes are properly wrapped, make sure there are no air leaks into your house. Proper ventilation is key, but tiny holes around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes are nothing but trouble. They allow freezing air to get into your house, and not only does that make your heating system work harder, it could also get to your pipes.

If you have any outside faucets, make sure garden hoses are disconnected. Use an indoor valve to shut off and drain the water from those outside faucets. These faucets are attached to the most susceptible pipes in your home. Just a slow drip of warm water overnight can actually help prevent freezing, especially for outside faucets, and keep the pipes clear.

If you take a vacation to warmer climates this winter, you have to take a couple steps to make sure your pipes will survive your absence. While you obviously won’t need the heat, don’t set the thermostat to anywhere below 55°F, and shut off and drain the water system. Leave cabinet doors open so a little extra heat gets to the pipes under your sinks. For extra peace of mind, have a neighbor stop in and make sure your house isn’t getting too cold while you’re gone.

If you turn on your faucets this winter and nothing comes out, your pipes have frozen. At least you’ve realized it before a pipe bursts. In the unfortunate event that you do have a pipe burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve. Everyone in your family should know where the shutoff valve is and how to operate it. Whether your pipes are just frozen or have already burst, call a trust-certified technician at Blind & Sons for expert repairs and further preventative measures so you won’t have to experience life without water again.

Sources: State Farm, The Weather Channel