Winter is quickly approaching and that means it’s time to start your winter prep work. The best time to start winterizing your home is in early to late fall. Properly winterizing in late September or October will ensure that your home doesn’t suffer any damage from an early freeze. The winterizing process should include things like roof repair, plumbing maintenance, and light yard work.
One of the more important areas of the home to get ready for winter are any and all water pipes. Without proper winterizing, plumbing can freeze when the temperature drops down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but if they are exposed to cold air due to lack of insulation or cracks, they can also freeze at temperatures above the typical threshold. When pipes freeze they can burst, causing damage to the pipe and potentially causing water damage to your home.
- Water Leaks. The first thing to do when you start winterizing your pipes is to look for any water leaks. The most common water leaks in plumbing are just small dripping leaks that can be found around fittings and joints. Use caulking to fix these small leaks and for larger leaks repair the section of piping.
- Air Leaks. Along with water leaks you should also look for any air leaks. A cold breeze whooshing in could cause the temperature around the pipes to drop lower than expected. Air leaks occur commonly around frame joints, vents, windows, and cracks in foundation. Use caulking or other stable material to fill in any leaks.
- Insulate. Wrap any exposed piping with insulation. Piping insulation can be found in most hardware stores. Pipes can also be wrapped in sheet insulation. Simply wrap the sheet insulation with tape or rope to secure it in place. To save a little money on the power bill you can also wrap a blanket around the water heater to keep the heat from seeping away.
- Exterior Faucets. If possible turn off the water supply to any exterior faucets and open the valve. You can also buy an insulation cover to protect these faucets. Protect hose pipes by removing them from faucets and blowing out any remaining water. Store hose pipes in a storage shed out of the winter elements.
- Closing Up for Winter. If you are closing a home for the winter it is important to start winterizing by blowing out the pipes and insulate all exposed piping. You can add RV anti-freeze to keep any remaining water in the pipes from freezing. Make sure to flush out the system before use when you return. Don’t forget to flip the water heater breaker off before draining the water from the plumbing.
If the pipes do freeze even after winterizing let them thaw out slowly to reduce the chances of rupture.
Protecting a home from the freezing temperatures of winter can be a little tedious, but with a little prep work and a well-planned check list you will have your winterizing done in no time.