Ask any residential plumbing services expert about seasonal plumbing care, and they’ll agree that the winter can be especially harsh, especially if you live in an area prone to low temperatures. Cold temperatures can freeze the water in your pipes, causing them to expand, crack, or burst.
Before the temperature dives, prepare your plumbing by following these five simple tips:
1. Shut off outdoor faucets
Don’t let water rest inside your outdoor-leading pipes when the temperature starts to dip. Still water is prone to freezing, which can crack or burst your pipes. A household plumbing inspection can tell you if there’s already damage from prior winter years. If your pipes are already weak, you should have residential plumbing services to repair them before winter hits.
When you’re done using your outdoor faucets, turn off their shutoff valves, then open the faucets and the bleeder cap to let out any remaining water. Disconnect any hoses attached to the faucets and store them in a shed or garage. If left attached, the water inside the hose can freeze its way up into the pipe and cause damage.
2. Insulate your hose bibs
After your outdoor faucets are shut off and drained, they should be protected from freezing temperatures with insulation covers. Even if you have specialty outdoor faucets that are freeze resistant, they aren’t entirely frost-proof and will still benefit from additional protection.
Insulation covers are made of rigid thermal foam or flexible insulated bags that secure around the faucets, trapping the heat that radiates from the internal portion of their pipes. They don’t cost much, and can be purchased at most home improvement retailers.
3. Make sure your HVAC system is functioning properly
If you live in an area where winter temperatures reach freezing or close to it, your thermostat shouldn’t be left off, even when you’re away from home. You can reduce your thermostat, but not too low, because your interior pipes (kitchen & bathroom pipes) will freeze if they get too cold.
Interior pipes usually aren’t insulated, so they rely on your interior heating system to keep them warm. If the temperature outside is freezing, a day without indoor heating can damage your pipes and require repairs from residential plumbing services.
4. Insulate your pipes
Though your interior pipes might rely on your HVAC system to stay warm, pipes that are located in colder areas of your home, such as the attic or crawl spaces, might need to be insulated. This can be a simple DIY project; however, if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can have residential plumbing services insulate for you.
If you’re open to a DIY project, all you need to do is measure, cut, place, and secure the proper pipe insulation material. You’ll need to research which material is appropriate for your pipes and water heating system, how much insulation material you’ll need, and how to safely cut and secure the material.
The easiest way to insulate your pipes is to have a residential plumbing services contractor install the sleeves for you. It’s a simple enough job for experienced contractors, and after watching the process, you might feel up to doing the job yourself next year.
Open your bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors
You can improve the warm air circulation around your pipes by opening the cabinets that house them. When the cabinets are closed, the pipes are kept from ambient air that can help water flow more effectively in cold temperatures.
Get professional preparation from residential plumbing services
These are only five steps you can take to winter-proof your plumbing. Residential plumbing services might have other suggestions for you, such as professionally inspecting your home exterior for cracks that might let in cold air that freezes your pipes.
Ehret Co. Plumbing & Heating has provided quality residential plumbing services across the Bay Area since 1910. Contact us today for help preparing your plumbing for the winter. As a fully licensed and insured company, we are open 365 days a year to work on everything from major emergency repairs to simple fixes.