Protecting Your Pipes in the Winter

Winter brings its share of misery. From freezing cold temps to nights that seems to last forever, it’s no wonder that a lot of people dread this time of year. On top of that, there is the threat that pipes could freeze and break, creating major problems within the home. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to protect your pipes in the winter.

Pipes that are more susceptible to freezing include those that are outside because they are exposed to the elements; pipes that are in crawl spaces, basements, attics, kitchen cabinets, and attics because these spaces generally aren’t heated; and pipes that are placed against exterior walls because they generally have little or no insulation.

To prevent outdoor pipes from freezing, you’ll want to make sure that hoses are detached from outside faucets and stored in a garage or shed. Shut off the water to outside faucets from the inside of the house, then open the outdoor faucets so that water can drain. Keep this open throughout the winter so that if there is water in there, it can expand and not break the pipe.

If you have a sprinkler system, you’ll need to blow out the pipes so that water can’t freeze and break those pipes. The water supply for the sprinklers will also need to be turned off from the main valve inside the house.

When it comes to the areas of your home that aren’t heated, adding insulation or heat tape will keep the pipes warm so that water can’t freeze. You may also consider keeping your garage closed more often during winter so that pipes aren’t exposed to the cold air, as well as opening the cupboard doors in both kitchens and bathrooms so that the heat can flow through to the pipes.

If the temperature gets really low, you’ll want to turn your faucets on and have them drip to prevent the water from freezing. You may have a programmable thermostat and set it to different temperatures to save on energy bills, but during the winter, you should keep it at a steady temperature. This will keep the house and your pipes warmer so they don’t freeze.

If you’re going to travel for the holiday season, don’t let the temperature in your house fall below 13 degrees Celsius. You may also consider keeping the cupboard doors open to prevent a water disaster while you’re away.Frozen water pipes can be an inconvenience and danger. If you have any questions about prevention or to correct a frozen pipe problem, contact a professional.

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