Winterizing Your Home Water System

 

If you are a homeowner it is critical to winterize your home’s water system before the temperature drops to help ensure a winter season free from frozen pipes and potential water damage.

The following tips will allow you to safeguard your water pipes against freezing weather. If you do not understand how your water system is set up, a licensed plumber can help you identify what you need to know to prepare for winter.

Which Pipes Are Most at Risk?

Pipes that are most exposed to the elements, including those outdoors and along the exterior walls of your home, may need extra protection during winter months. These include the following:

  • Outdoor hose hookups and faucets.
  • Swimming pool supply lines.
  • Lawn sprinkler lines.
  • Water pipes in unheated, interior locations such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages and kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
  • Pipes running against exterior walls with little or no insulation.

How to Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

Before winter:

  • Check your home for areas where water pipes are located in unheated or poorly insulated areas. Be sure to check your basement, attic, crawl space, garage and within cabinets containing plumbing. Hot and cold water pipes should both be insulated.
  • Products such as pipe sleeves or UL-listed heat tape or heat cable can help insulate or heat exposed water pipes.
  • Insulate pipes that provide water throughout the house but pass through unheated areas, such as garages, basements and attics, to help prevent freezing.

During winter:

  • Close inside valves supplying water to outdoor faucets and hookups.
  • Open outdoor faucets to allow residual water to drain; be sure to keep them open during the cold weather months, while the water supply is turned off.
  • Keep garage doors closed to help protect water pipes located in the garage.
  • Open the doors on cabinets where plumbing is located. This can help allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  • For pipes that are at risk of freezing (both hot and cold water pipes), let water drip from faucets.