Oh, the weather outside is frightful….and you’ve got your water pipes and plumbing system on your mind! Okay, maybe there are a few things you’re thinking about more than winterizing your home plumbing. But making sure your pipes are ready for winter is important. By following these steps, you can greatly decrease the chances of your pipes freezing or bursting over the course of the winter. So, save yourself the headache (and possibly time and money) and check out our list below. These tips are all things that you can do yourself!
Insulate Exposed Pipes
Pipes in areas that aren’t heated are most likely to freeze. For instance, if you have pipes in the crawl space or attic it would be best to have them insulated. Insulating tubes can be purchased online or at a hardware store.
You can use heat tape for an extra layer of insulation, as well. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and the instructions on the package to ensure correct and safe use of heat tape.
Seal Air Leaks—Especially Near Pipes
Cold air coming in through walls or windows can lead to freezing pipes. You’ll want to seal any leaks with caulk or insulation. In northwest Ohio, we know that the cold is no joke! Even a small amount of cold air coming in near a pipe could be enough to cause freezing. Insulating any air leaks should also generally increase the efficiency of your home.
Disconnect Garden Hoses
Disconnecting garden hoses will decrease the chance of that pipe freezing. If possible, it is helpful to shut off the water to any outdoor faucets during the winter.
Keep Your House Warm
You may be thinking, “Of course I’m going to keep my house warm—the winters are freezing in northwest Ohio!” While this tip may seem like a big-time “duh,” it is helpful to keep in mind.
It is recommended to keep the thermostat set to the same temperature when you’re sleeping as when you’re awake (rather than lowering the temperature at night). Significant drops in temperature are common at night, and these drops in temperature can lead to frozen pipes.
When you’re out of the house or out of town, it is best to keep the temperature no lower than 55°F.
Open Cabinet Doors Near Pipes
Opening cabinets with pipes inside is a good way to let more heat get to spaces that might be cooler than the rest of the house. This is especially true for sink and other appliances that are along external walls, where it may be a bit cooler already.
Let a Faucet Drip
Letting water slowly drip from a faucet overnight, especially on a cold night, reduces some pressure in your pipes. Reducing pressure makes it less likely that pipes will burst (even if they do freeze).
It’s important to be prepared for two things: when you go out of town and if an emergency situation ever occurs.
Going Out of Town
If you go out of town for any amount of time over the winter it’s important to have a plan to avoid frozen pipes. Make sure the thermostat is at or above 55°F. Have a friend or neighbor check regularly if your house is remaining warm enough to prevent freezing. Shut off and drain the water system.
Sometimes things go wrong despite our best efforts. If your pipes do end up freezing, don’t panic. If you turn on your pipes and water does not come in, it’s likely your pipes are frozen. At that point it’s best to Do not try to thaw pipes with any sort of open flame. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the main shutoff valve is. If your pipes burst, you’ll want to turn off the valve but leave the faucets turned on.
Choose Kellermeier for Plumbing Emergencies in Northwest Ohio
Remember, in case of an emergency simply give us a call at 419-823-9143. We know that plumbing emergencies rarely fall within business hours, so we make ourselves available for emergencies 24/7 in Toledo and the surrounding areas of northwest Ohio.
You may also be interested in these other related seasonal blogs by Kellermeier Plumbing & Heating:
- Is a Furnace Tune-Up Worth It?
- Should You Upgrade Your Fireplace?
- Should I Install a Wood or Gas Fireplace?