Preparing Your Plumbing for Winter Weather

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Colder weather is setting in for everyone living in the Provo area, which means now is the time to prepare your home—especially your plumbing—for the freezing temperatures. Not taking these important steps now could lead to serious plumbing problems later in the season.
Simple steps to take to protect your home’s pipes from cold weather damage.

Drain Outdoor Plumbing and Faucets

If you have a faucet or pipe that is outdoors, such as your sprinkler system or a faucet that is on the outside of your home and connected to a hose or other pipe, it’s important to shut it off and drain any water from the pipe immediately. Water left in these pipes, hoses, or faucets can freeze, causing pipes to burst and leading to flooding issues inside your home in the winter.

Keep Temperatures Warm, Even When You’re Gone

If you leave during the day or night, or plan to go on vacation, make sure to keep your thermostat set at a temperature warm enough to avoid freezing pipes. Generally that means keeping the temperature at or above 55 degrees; any lower than that and the areas of your home that aren’t as well insulated could get even colder, allowing pipes to freeze. If you’re planning an extended time away from your home, you can also shut off the main water and drain all the water from your pipes by turning on faucets throughout the house as an added layer of protection.

Insulate Pipes in Colder Areas and Seal Up Holes

If you have pipes in an unfinished area of your basement, consider adding insulation around them to avoid the pipes freezing during extremely cold weather. Even if they’re on the interior of the home, cold weather could cause water in the pipes to freeze, expand, and cause damage. A quick layer of insulation (available at any local hardware store) can prevent this from happening. If you notice any spots where your insulation is lacking in the basement, garage, or attic with pipes inside the area, take a few minutes to add more insulation or seal up cracks to avoid freezing air from getting inside.

Protect Against Extreme Temperatures

When temperatures hit well below freezing, you may need to take a few extra steps to protect your plumbing, especially if you live in an older home with poor insulation. You can add insulation to pipes anywhere in the home, leave the water on slightly so water continues to flow (just enough for a drip is fine), set your thermostat a few degrees higher than normal, and even open cabinets with pipes to let air flow from warmer parts of your home around the pipes.

These simple steps can keep your pipes from freezing and prevent the need for expensive damage and repairs caused by freezing temperatures. But if the worst does happen, American Plumbing Services is there to help fix your plumbing.