It won’t be long before winter arrives, and it could be a long cold one. While snow makes for wonderful scenery, snow, ice, and cold temperatures can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. To ward off potential disasters, homeowners need to take steps to properly winterize the home. By being proactive, you will not have to be reactive when a situation arises. In this guide, you will learn how to prepare your home’s plumbing system for the upcoming winter.
1. Stabilize the Temperature of Your Home Through Proper Insulation
The first step to preparing your home’s plumbing system for the upcoming winter is to focus on stabilizing the temperature of the structure by ensuring proper insulation. The heat is known for moving to colder areas. As a result, heat will escape the places in your home that you are attempting to maintain warmth. Insulation is designed to keep the heat from escaping and ensure that it remains where it is supposed to remain. The pipes of your home plumbing system are actually protected by your home’s insulation.
You may engage in two different approaches to improve the insulation around the pipes of your home. If you have a lot of piping, you should opt for pipe wrap.
The most popular pipe wrap materials are plastic and fiberglass. You just need the wrap and some duct tape; that is unless you elect to use the self-adhesive types of pipe wrap. Then, just cover the pipe until it is at least half of an inch thick. If you use pipe wrap composed of fiberglass, ensure that you take the additional step of wrapping it in plastic to prevent the issue of dripping later.
If you want to bypass insulation pipe wrap, you may use tubular sleeves for your pipes. These are much easier to install. Simply cut for the length of the pipe. If you have to use multiple sleeves for ample coverage, you will simply need to seal up any cracks or gaps with high-quality duct tape. By insulating your pipes in your home, they will remain warm during the winter months; therefore, reducing the possibility of freezing. This is considered an essential step to proper plumbing winterization.
2. Analyze Your Home Plumbing System for Leaks
As you are insulating your pipes and thereafter, review all areas of your home’s plumbing system to find any leaks. Remember, even a very small leak can lead to disastrous results once the weather runs cold.
Analyze your faucets, the shower heads throughout your home, and pipes that are present underneath sinks.
It is also a good idea to ensure that toilets are functioning properly.
If you find an issue, fix it immediately.
Not only will small leaks increase your energy consumption, but they also have the potential to transition into large floods if not handled before the cold weather sets in outdoors.
3. Close Crawlspace Areas
Before the cold weather comes in, close off the area that allows you access to your crawlspace. If you fail to do this, those cold winds can quickly invade the area and result in the freezing of your pipes.
Also, consider where your hot water heater is located. Most homes have it in or near the garage. If this is the case, when you close the crawlspace access, go ahead and close the garage doors, too.
If the hot water heater is in the garage or near it, closing these doors will prevent arctic wind from reaching it.
Additionally, you should go ahead and insulate the garage door for additional protection from the harsh outdoor temperatures.
4. Disconnect Hoses
Being that you are probably outside after closing the garage doors, go ahead and go around your home and disconnect any hoses that are attached to outdoor faucets. Ensure that the faucets are turned completely off. Once you do this, any water that was trapped in the spigot will go through a draining process before the cold weather sets in.
If you fail to disconnect these hoses, the water will remain in the pipes. Naturally, this leaves the possibility of the water freezing and causing serious complications.
Once you disconnect the hoses, remember to install faucet jackets. These will offer insulation to the faucet and help the pipes that are leading directly into your home. Also, shut off all faucets at their associated shut-off valves.
5. Drain Outdoor Sprinkler Systems
If you have an irrigation system that runs underground, you must drain the outdoor sprinkler system completely. If not drained properly, the water will expand and freeze that remains in the system. This could damage the irrigation system and even lead to pipes bursting within your home. Once drained, be sure to turn off any type of timer system that is associated with the sprinkler system.
6. Hot Tub Maintenance
If you have a hot tub, it is important to prepare it for winter, too. First, release all of the plugs that are connected to the unit. Next, open up all of the drains and drain the system completely. You want to make certain that all water is completely eliminated from the unit and it is covered for additional protection.
7. Pool Maintenance
If you have a swimming pool, you must first drain all of the water out of the structure. Then, drain the water in the associated equipment.
The heater unit, filters, pumps, and any type of chlorinator should be completely dried. This will help avoid the possibility of freezing.
If you need a little assistance in this endeavor, you can use an air compressor or even a shop vac.
Next, make sure that you properly insulate the piping and all of the installed backflow systems.
8. The Main Shut-Off Valve
The next step in winterizing your plumbing system for the winter months is to locate the main shut-off valve for your water. Everyone in the home should be instructed on where this is and how to properly operate it.
This way, if a pipe burst or another complication arises, you are able to prevent even more serious issues from developing.
9. Install a Wi-Fi Thermostat
If you obtain and install a Wi-Fi thermostat in your home, you can monitor the temperature of your home remotely. If the temperature starts to drop, it poses a threat to your plumbing system. It will then send an instant alert to your phone to notify you of the issue at hand. If this is an unusual occurrence, it will alert you to the fact that you need to get home and evaluate the issue – which could, in turn, allow you to save plumbing issues from developing before they happen.
10. Install Heat Cables
If you have vulnerable pipes throughout your home, you may need to install heat cables on them to ensure that heat is distributed as necessary. Not all pipes are compatible with these cables.
Before installing, make sure they will not pose any danger to the pipes. It is important to have an accessible outlet to plug in the cable.
Depending on the overall length of the cable, these are typically between $20-$50 each.
11. Seal Rim Joists
Evaluate the rim joists in your home. This is one area that is known for the passing of cold air. If you observe any cracks or holes, you should use insulation to seal them. It is best to use caulk or a type of foam that expands.
12. Open Cabinet and Closet Doors
If the outdoor temperatures get extremely cold, it is a good idea to open up your cabinet and closet doors. This is especially true if there are pipes behind them. This will allow the heat from the house to enter into those areas and prevent the pipes from freezing.
If you have a small indoor electrical heater, you could even point that towards the open doors to help keep the pipes warm. You probably won’t have to do this extra measure with your closets – unless, of course, there are pipes in them or you have a hot water heater in or near the closet.
Contact Us Today
Winter is right around the corner. The time to winterize your home’s plumbing system is now. If you wait until the cold weather sets in, it could be too late. We here at Reynolds can assist you. Not only can we help winterize your plumbing system, but we can also ensure that your HVAC system is fully prepared for all those cold days. We offer both residential and commercial services. Regardless of what your need, we can assist you. We pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service. Also, we offer the most competitive prices within the area. To learn more or to set up an appointment with one of our qualified technicians, call us today.