In the middle of winter when the temperatures are below freezing, the water pipes in your home can freeze which will disrupt the water flow and lead to burst pipes. Burst pipes can cause flooding and water damage inside your home which is highly inconvenient to deal with in the middle of winter. Fortunately, you can help prevent frozen pipes by performing some pipe maintenance around the house in the fall. These tips will help you prepare the pipes inside and outside your house to prevent them from freezing.
Pipe Maintenance Outside your Home
Before it gets too cold outside this fall, make sure you find time to complete these pipe maintenance tips. The first thing you should do is turn off your irrigation system or sprinkler system if you have one in your yard. Once the temperature drops below a certain level, the plants become dormant and no longer need to be watered. The next thing you should do is check the points where pipes enter your home and caulk around the opening if there are any spaces. You should also close your foundation vents because one of the main causes of frozen pipes is open foundation vents. By sealing off the vents and entry points of the pipes, you can help reduce excess cold air from entering the home which could cause the pipes to freeze. Just remember to reopen the foundation vents in the spring.
Another important pipe maintenance tip is to make sure your outside pipes and faucets are well protected. Turn off every outside faucet and if the hose bib on the faucet is not frost free, then it must be insulated with molded foam insulating covers. You should also disconnect the garden hose from the faucet because it can trap water in the faucet and cause it to freeze. After disconnecting the hose, drain it and store it in a shed or garage where it will be protected from the winter weather.
Pipe Maintenance Tips Inside Your Home
For the most part, the heat inside your home should be preventing frozen pipes but the pipes that are in unheated areas of your home require pipe insulation to keep them from freezing. The unheated areas that may contain pipes include the basement, attic, crawl space, or garage and the best form of pipe insulation to use is insulated tape or molded pipe sleeves. Make sure to cover all exposed pipe, valves, and pipefitting with the insulation. If you are leaving your house for an extended period of time during cold weather, then you will need to turn off the main water shut-off valve and water heater and drain the water system. It is also important to know where the main shut-off valve is located because you will have to turn off the water if a pipe should burst.
Frozen pipes are highly inconvenient in the winter and if the pipes are not thawed out quickly enough, they could burst and cause water damage. If you follow these pipe maintenance tips this fall, you can help prevent frozen pipes and reduce the risk of pipe bursts in and around your home. However, even with proper maintenance it is still possible for pipes to burst in the middle of winter. Remember to turn off the water shut-off valve if a pipe bursts and contact a professional for water damage restoration.