How to Prepare Your Plumbing System for a Cold Winter

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As hard as a cold winter can be on your body, it’s important to consider how the cold weather might also affect some of your home’s mechanical systems. Your plumbing system, specifically, is quite vulnerable to cold weather because much of it is in uninsulated areas in your home and because your home’s pipes carry water that can freeze if the temperature dips too low. To prevent major plumbing issues this winter, here are a few precautions you should take.

Provide a Helping Hand

If you have pipes located in especially vulnerable areas, such as garages or attics, then it may make sense to install heating cables alongside these pipes. Acting essentially as a heated blanket for water supply lines, heating cables can turn themselves on automatically when the temperature of the adjacent pipes drops too low. If you want exceptional peace of mind throughout the winter, this is one of your best options.

Turn Off Supply Valves

While outdoor spigots can be especially useful during the summer, all they do during winter is to provide an easy place for cold air to enter your home’s plumbing system. To stop this air in its tracks, it’s important to close the valves leading to the outdoor spigots to essentially isolate the rest of your home’s plumbing from the cold outdoor air. To further protect the spigots, it’s important to remove any hoses that are attached to them and put those hoses in storage.

Seal Cracks in Your Home’s Foundation

For pipes that run through your home’s basement, foundation cracks can be a serious enemy. As these cracks allow cold air to spew into your basement, the chance of a frozen pipe increases dramatically. To help reduce the risk, it’s important to check your foundation for cracks every year. If you find any, use appropriate sealing and insulation methods to kick those cracks to the curb.

Make Use of the Main Shut-Off Valve

If you’re planning on heading out of town to enjoy some warmer weather this winter, make sure not to leave your home’s plumbing system vulnerable while you’re away. By using the main water shut-off valve, you can ensure that none of the pipes in your home will have enough water in them to burst from freezing. You’ll also want to take some time to turn on all of the plumbing fixtures to completely drain the pipes. If you don’t want to turn off the main valve or if you think you won’t be gone for too long, make sure your home is at a warm enough temperature that the indoor pipes won’t crack or burst. It is also smart to open any cabinets or cupboards that house pipes, to ensure that some of the warmth circulates to those areas.

Remaining aware of changing weather conditions throughout the winter is an important part of good plumbing protection. On nights with exceptionally cold weather, you may need to take special precautions to ensure that your home’s pipes stay safe. Therefore, keep your weather app close throughout the season so that your pipes don’t suffer unnecessarily.

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