Step 1: Use Heat Tape
If your home has any pipes that are exposed to the elements, such as outdoor plumbing or plumbing that runs through your garage, those pipes are particularly vulnerable to freezing. Measure how much piping is at risk and head over to your local plumbing supply to get a heat tape kit that will meet your needs, then follow the installation guidelines. Heat tape has an internal thermostat that senses when your pipes are close to freezing and automatically warms them.
Step 2: Insulate Your Pipes
Most of the plumbing in your home is in the walls and floors and benefits from your home’s existing insulation, but any exposed piping may be vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Go through your home and note any exposed piping, then head out to your local hardware store to get some foam pipe insulation to wrap your pipes with. The best part is that it will generally cost less than $10 to cover the average home’s exposed piping. The insulation will protect your pipes and the water within from freezing temperatures.
Step 3: Let A Few Faucets Drip Overnight
Moving water is less likely to freeze, so when temperatures drop below freezing you can further protect your pipes by keeping a slow drip going in one or more household faucets. Keeping taps open also alleviates any pressure in your plumbing lines so they won’t burst even if they do end up freezing.
Step 4: Open Your Undersink Cabinet Doors At Night
This may be unsafe during the day when children and pets can get into cleaning products, but after the kids have gone to bed, you should open the cabinets under your sinks to let more of your home’s heated air reach your pipes. It’s a small action that can have a big impact.
Step 5: Seal Any Cracks In Your Walls
If your home has any cracks from settling, it can allow frigid air to get inside your walls and negate the effects of your insulation. Fix this problem by applying caulk or spray foam to the cracks. Not only will your pipes benefit, but it can save you money on your heating bills by removing places for heated air to escape.
Following these five simple steps can be the difference between a winter spent with reliable plumbing and a winter spent dealing with plumbing repair headaches. If you have any questions about the winterization process or need any help completing these tasks, J. Blanton is here for you. Just give us a call at (773) 724-9272.