With the onset of chilly fall temperatures; we know that winter is around the corner! Don’t be caught unprepared for the troubles associated with extreme cold weather.
- Make sure outside faucets aren't dripping or leaking. Make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before freezing temperatures arrive. Be aware that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds causing cracks – no matter if the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash more than 250 gallons of water in a single day.
- Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected, water in the hoses can freeze and expand causing faucets and connecting pipes inside your home to freeze and break.
- If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from lines.
- Cover outside faucets using a faucet insulation kit.
- Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as garages or crawl spaces.
- Your water heater works harder during winter months. Flush it out and remove sediment buildup, which causes corrosion, shortens life span and reduces heating efficiency. Drain several gallons from the faucet near the bottom of the tank. Connect a hose to the faucet and direct water into a nearby drain. If you are not comfortable with doing this, contact a qualified plumber. A qualified plumber can drain your water heater and also make sure that it is in good working order for the months ahead.
- Clear leaves and debris from outside downspouts to ensure easy drainage when water freezes and thaws throughout the winter season.
- Inspect and clean sump pump and pit. Pumps exposed to extreme cold can freeze, preventing the pump from operating.
- When leaving home for extended periods, shut off the main water valve and drain the system by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Make sure the heat is left on and set no lower than 55°F.
- Caution! These tips are intended for homes that will be inhabited throughout the winter months. Many additional steps should be taken to winterize vacation properties that will be abandoned or left unattended for weeks or months at a time. Seek professional help for winterizing such properties.