Nearly everyone knows that frozen and burst pipes can wreak havoc on your home in the middle of the winter. Preparing your pipes in the fall before old man winter arrives may save you a bundle on costly repairs and will alleviate the aggravation of replacing outside pipes and spigots in the spring. Follow these simple steps to prepare your home inside and out for winter and say goodbye to worries about frozen or burst pipes.
Outside Water Sources
It’s easy to overlook outside faucets and spigots in the fall, but neglecting them now may mean replacing them in the spring. Follow these tips for taking care of your outside pipes this fall.
- Remove and drain garden hoses. Water left in the garden hose can freeze and cause the hose to break or crack. Once it is drained, store the hose in the garage or garden shed until spring.
- Shut off the water supply to faucets. Look in the basement for the main shut off to all outside fixtures.
- Open the faucets and let the water in the pipe drain completely. This prevents standing water from freezing in the pipe during the winter.
- Turn off all faucets. If you have outside spigots, now is the time to shut them off and cover them with a cap. This will prevent ice and snow from building up around the faucet and causing winter damage. Don’t forget lines to pools, fountains and other water features!
Preventing the plumbing in your home from freezing is important too. Follow these tips for winterizing your inside plumbing.
- Seal all cracks around the basement windows and the foundation to prevent cold drafts from freezing your pipes.
- Insulate unheated crawl spaces or any unheated areas (like an unused room or garage) that your pipes travel through.
- Use foam pipe insulation on pipes that are exposed to cold air.
- Do not turn the heat off when you leave home or go on vacation. Set it to 55 degrees instead to keep the home warm enough to avoid frozen pipes.
Remedies for Frozen Pipes
If your pipes do freeze, despite your efforts, there are several ways you can safely thaw the pipes.
- Use a hair dryer set on low to gently warm the pipes and thaw the ice. Open the faucet and begin thawing at the end closest to the faucet. This allows the water to drip out of the faucet and will speed your efforts.
- If your pipes freeze under the sink, open the cabinet doors and allow warm air from the room to circulate and thaw the pipes.
- Use a space heater to warm the area near the pipes. Observe all safety precautions with the space heater.
- Soak towels in hot water and wrap them around the frozen pipes. Make sure you change them as they cool.
When Pipes Burst
If your pipes burst, your home will likely be flooded with a gush of cold water. Turn off the main water supply immediately and begin the process of cleaning up by soaking up the mess with old towels or blankets. Call a plumber as soon as possible to repair or replace the pipes. To learn more ways you can prepare your plumbing for the upcoming winter, contact us today.