Colder temperatures don’t just bring in the threat of snow and ice, but can also cause a home’s pipes to take a beating. Frozen pipes are much more susceptible to breaking as the ice they accumulate can push them beyond their flexibility point. But, what can homeowners do to prevent the harsh winter from damaging their home’s plumbing system?
Here are a few things you can do now to winterize your home (and protect your pipes):
Set your thermostat.
You’ll want to try to keep your house consistently warm through the winter, even when you’re not home. The warmth in your house can also help to keep your pipes from freezing when temperatures drop. If you plan to be away from your house for more than a day, do not turn your thermostat off. Instead, program it to be between 50 and 55 degrees.
Install piping insulation.
It may seem cumbersome, but covering your pipes with insulation can help to keep them from bursting. Most insulation is inexpensive and is made with fiberglass, polyethylene or foam.
Open bathroom and kitchen cabinets.
Believe it or not, by doing this you’re giving your pipes more access to the heat in your home. If you can, opening the cabinet doors before you go to bed and closing them in the morning is a great way to keep your pipes warmer at night when the temperature naturally falls.
Let your faucet drip.
If you can trace which faucets are fed by exposed pipes that are more likely to freeze, turn on those faucets (even a small trickle is fine) and let the water run. This will decrease the chances that the water is sitting and able to freeze over time.
Seal any cracks or openings.
The more heat you can keep in your home, the more warmth your pipes will naturally get. Weather stripping doors and windows can help as well as sealing up any cable holes in the walls or floors can also help to better insulate your home.
If you’re ever worried that your home’s pipes are frozen, contact a plumbing professional rather than trying to troubleshoot the problem. Having your plumbing system inspected at least once a year is also a great way to get insight into your home’s plumbing trouble spots. A licensed plumber would be able to give you additional recommendations that you can follow to get your home ready for the winter.