Flooded basements, frozen pipes and added expense – winter can be a homeowner’s worst time of the year. Take the following precautions to prepare your plumbing before the worst of the season come our way:
- Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Once the hose is removed, water can drain from the pipe, preventing water from freezing inside it and bursting the pipe. This also includes swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines. Don’t add antifreeze. It can be harmful to the pipes and the environment.
- Insulate all pipes and faucets with a pipe sleeve or heat cable, which are available at most hardware or building supply stores. Carefully wrap each pipe exposed to unheated areas, paying special attention to joints. Newspaper can even provide some protection to exposed pipes that aren’t in areas of prolonged, extreme cold.
- Seal off access doors, vents and cracks. Cold air seeping in can freeze exposed pipes and plumbing.
- Know the location of your master shutoff valve, which turns off the water for the house. In case of flooding you can quickly shut down the water supply and prevent further damage.
- Remember to leave the heat on in your home, no lower than 55 degrees, if you travel during cold weather. And leave your sink cabinet doors open to allow the heat to circulate.