How To Prepare Your Plumbing for the Winter

How To Prepare Your Plumbing for the Winter

Even in temperate areas, unpredictable winter weather can damage pipes. Learn how to prepare you plumbing for the winter to avoid damage to your pipes.

Locate Your Main Water Shut-Off Valve

Freezing weather can cause pipes to burst, flooding basements and other areas of the home. Be prepared to limit damage by knowing where your water main shut-off valve is located. It’s usually in the basement or crawl space, just inside where the water main pipe enters the foundation. If your house is on a slab, the shut-off might be in the garage or next to your water heater.

Detach Hoses, Cover Outdoor Faucets, and Shut Off Their Supply

Drain hoses and put them away for the season. Hoses left attached to outside faucets can freeze, causing ice to back up into pipes, which can then crack or burst. Turn off the water supply to exterior faucets and drain the pipes. Install insulated faucet covers, which are inexpensive and available at home supply stores.

Fix Leaks and Insulate Pipes in Unheated Areas of the Home

Even small leaks can cause big trouble all year. In the winter, however, they’re invitations to a burst pipe. Ice that expands inside a pipe will find the leak, and that weak point in the pipe is likely to burst. Have leaks repaired before the temperature threatens to drop below freezing. Pipes that run through attics, garages, or crawl spaces are especially vulnerable to cold temperatures. Insulate them or install heat tapes from a kit that includes a thermostat.

Service the Furnace, and Let Water Trickle When Frigid Temperatures Are Predicted

Make sure your heating system is working properly. A heated home is your best defense against frozen pipes. Also, have your water heater checked. It should usually be drained and serviced annually.

If the forecast predicts a hard freeze, leave faucets trickling a little overnight. Moving water is much less likely to freeze.

Californians living in temperate areas may still experience winter plumbing problems and should prepare their plumbing for the winter season. Fletcher’s Plumbing provides residential plumbing services in Yuba City and Sacramento, California, and the surrounding areas. Contact Fletcher’s for your home plumbing and water treatment needs.