Inspecting & Protecting Plumbing for Winter

 In Plumbing

Winter is right around the corner and now is a good time to start thinking about preparing your home for the season. One part of this preparation is inspecting your plumbing and making sure that pipes and fixtures are ready for the cold, icy weather ahead. Pipes routinely freeze during the winter and can burst, causing water damage and costly repairs. Prevention is the best option when it comes to dealing with the risk of damage to plumbing and with a little care and awareness, you shouldn’t have to deal with burst pipes or other cold weather plumbing problems this winter.

Insulating pipes and making sure that the home remains at a stable temperature are the best ways to protect plumbing pipes, fixtures, and appliances in the cold. If you are away for a period of time, make sure to set your home thermostat to a consistent temperature to ensure a stable warmth circulating throughout the house–particularly when pipes are exposed. Running warm water through the pipes is also a good idea to keep the pipes from getting too cold, or even freezing in severely cold temperatures. Here are some tips for preventing frozen pipes and protecting your plumbing from freezing temperatures.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

When pipes freeze, they can easily burst. This damage can cost many thousands of dollars to repair. Taking steps to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place is the most optimal way to protect your home plumbing as indoor and outdoor temperatures drop. Fortunately, preventing pipes from freezing and bursting is fairly simple and only requires taking a bit of precaution and a little maintenance.

  • Insulate attic openings. Any openings in the attic should be sealed to prevent cold air from entering the home directly. Make sure attic insulation is in good condition to contain the cold air.
  • Seal all doors and windows. Keeping all cold air out during the winter is important to protecting the pipes inside your house. This comes down to keeping your home a consistently warm temperature. Add weatherstripping to doors and seal windows and replace single pane glass with double pane to help retain heat.
  • Install insulation and heat source tape with a consistent power source on main sprinkler system lines and sprinkler branch lines. This will help protect these exposed pipes from freezing during extremely cold temperatures.
  • Install an excess flow switch on the main incoming domestic water line. This will provide early detection if a valve or pipe is broken.
  • Ensure continuous power flow throughout the winter. Making sure that your home remains a consistent temperature is important to providing a stable indoor environment to protect plumbing. Pipes can potentially freeze if the indoor temperature drops below a certain temperature, so make sure power is consistent–especially when you are away from home.
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