Preparing pipes for winter is important to prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting. Here are nine steps to follow:
1. Insulate exposed pipes: Insulating pipes that are located in unheated or poorly insulated areas, such as crawl spaces, basements, or attics, can help protect them from freezing. Use pipe sleeves, heat tape, or foam insulation to wrap the pipes.
2. Seal gaps and cracks: Inspect the areas where pipes enter your home and seal any gaps or cracks with caulk or foam insulation. This prevents cold air from entering and keeps the pipes warmer.
3. Disconnect outdoor hoses and faucets: Before temperatures drop below freezing, disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses. Close the valves leading to outdoor faucets and open the faucets to allow any remaining water to drain out.
4. Shut off exterior water supply: Locate the shut-off valve for the outdoor water supply and turn it off. Drain any remaining water in the pipes by opening the faucets until they stop flowing.
5. Let faucets drip: In extremely cold conditions, allowing faucets to drip slightly can relieve pressure in the pipes and reduce the chance of freezing. Open both hot and cold faucets slightly to create a slow drip.
6. Maintain indoor temperature: Keep the indoor temperature consistent and above freezing. Heating your home prevents pipes in unheated areas from freezing. Even if you’re away, set the thermostat to a temperature that will keep the interior warm enough.
7. Keep cabinet doors open: For pipes located inside cabinets, open the cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. This helps prevent them from freezing.
8. Be aware of vulnerable areas: Identify areas where pipes are most vulnerable to freezing, such as exterior walls or areas with poor insulation. Pay extra attention to insulating and protecting these pipes.
9. Monitor weather forecasts: Stay informed about upcoming weather conditions, especially extreme cold temperatures or harsh winter storms. Take extra precautions when severe weather is expected, such as using additional insulation or allowing all faucets to slowly drip overnight.
By following these steps, you can help minimize the risk of frozen pipes and avoid costly damage caused by ruptures.