Summer can bring a host of home maintenance issues: sprinkler and outdoor faucet leaks, clogged sewers, and more. Winter brings reduced outdoor water use, which is a nice relief. However, the season can introduce its own plumbing problems, including frozen water in pipes. The key to minimizing winter plumbing problems is preparation. Winterize your home now to fend off major inconveniences and big repair bills.
Take the following steps before the onset of colder weather.
- Fix leaks – Check for leaks in all the exposed indoor and outdoor pipes. A small leak could damage the surrounding pipes the moment the temperature drops to freezing. Find hidden leaks in insulated pipes by feeling for moisture. If there is a leak, the surrounding insulation will be wet.
- Insulate pipes – Prevent winter problems, as well energy loss, by insulating exposed pipes. Check your attic, crawl space and garage for any uninsulated pipes. Pipe insulation is cheap and easy to install.
- Swamp cooler – If you have a swamp cooler, clean and drain it before winter hits. Turn off the power and water supply to the cooler. Drain water out of the cooler and its supply lines. Clean the interior of the cooler and change the pads. Cover the swamp cooler with a tarp to keep it dry over the winter.
- Hose bibs – Protect the hose bibs and pipes by first removing the garden hose from the outdoor faucet. Drain the water from the hose and store the hose away. Drain collected water from the bib. If you have shutoff valves, turn them off for the season. Drain any water remaining in the pipes. If you don’t have shutoff valves, install hose bib covers to prevent freezing and damage.
- Sprinkler system – Water in your sprinkler system will freeze in cold weather. Winterize your sprinkler system by turning it off. Then, flush out the remaining water by turning on each valve.
Save money on future repair bills by preparing your house, particularly your plumbing system, for the cold weather.