A frozen or burst pipe can be a huge headache for homeowners, and because winter temperatures can change drastically from day to day, now’s the time to make sure you’re ready for a sudden cold snap.
Check out our tips for protecting your home from winter plumbing woes:
Older water pipes may accumulate sediment, and usually, the first sign of that problem is weak water pressure. If water can’t move freely through pipes in the winter, pipes might freeze, so have your water lines professionally cleaned if you suspect sediment is present.
Sediment may accumulate inside water heaters, too, which leads to inefficient water-heating and excessive utility costs. If you hear a clunking sound when you turn on the hot water taps in your home, you might want to have your water heater drained and serviced.
Any section of water pipe that’s exposed to cold air should be insulated – that includes pipes in crawl spaces, attics and basements, and exterior hose spigots.
Disconnect and drain garden hoses before winter. Exterior spigots may need a layer of foam insulation, if there are any gaps in the wall surrounding the pipe, and an inexpensive foam faucet cover can further protect exterior spigots from freezing.
Foam sleeve insulation is easy to install around indoor pipes – just cut it to the correct lengths, and make a lengthwise slice in the sleeve to slip it onto the pipe.
Check your sump pump
In winter, snow and ice aren’t the only threats to your home. When a large volume of snow melts quickly, the ground becomes oversaturated and increases flooding risk.
Make sure your sump pump is working well – better yet, schedule an annual tune-up, as a professional plumber may notice problems that wouldn’t be obvious to the untrained eye.
Gutters may not be technically part of your home’s plumbing system, but they play an important role in diverting water away from your foundation. When gutters are full of debris, runoff from melting snow can refreeze in gutters, forming harmful ice dams.
Ice dams may send water up and under the eaves of your home, damaging your walls. So clean your gutters before winter, and install a leaf guard to keep out debris.