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Prepare Your Pipes for the Winter

The cold temperatures, ice, and snow that accompany winter weather can cause some major inconveniences, not the least of which is the potential for plumbing issues in your home.  Below are some ways your household can be better prepared for the winter season.

  • Inspect your pipes and have any leaks repaired as soon as possible. Any water that is trapped in a pipe has the potential to turn to ice, which is surprisingly strong enough to burst the toughest of metal pipes.  To this end, you should also wrap pipes located in colder areas of your home with heat tape or pipe insulation to help keep them warm.  Burst pipes are the number one plumbing issue stemming from winter weather.
  • The fall months are the perfect time to handle any servicing needs your home has. Make sure your furnace is professionally inspected and ready to keep your house warm, and that your water heater has been drained and maintained by a licensed plumber.
  • Be sure not to neglect your outdoor plumbing and its related accessories. Detach your hoses from the spigots, completely drain them, and store them away before the first overnight freeze. You should also shut off the water supply to your outdoor faucets.  If you have sprinklers, use a can of compressed air to blow the water out of them, taking care to make sure they are completely dry before you store them.
  • Clean out your gutters. If water cannot move through them freely, the water is likely to freeze, leading to possible roof damage and unwanted water in your home.

Perhaps most importantly, everyone in your home should be educated on where to find the main water shut off valve and understand how to turn it off in the event you have burst pipes.  Should this happen, the faster someone can turn off the water, the less messy the outcome will be.