How to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter
Winter weather will be here before you know it. And once temperatures drop, your water pipes and meter can be susceptible to freezing. Frozen pipes cause expensive, frustrating, and unnecessary damage.
Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think to protect your home. Follow these simple steps to help prevent your water pipes and meter from freezing this winter, saving you time, money, and hassle.
Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses and empty rain barrels
Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe instead of leaving it to freeze. Shut off the water supply to outside spigots if they have a separate shutoff valve. It only takes a single, hard, overnight freeze to burst either the spigot or the pipe connected to it.
Insulate water pipes in unheated areas
If you have pipes in an unheated area, like a garage or a crawl space, wrap the pipes with an insulating material like foam tubing or heat tape. Hardware or building supply stores will have wrapping materials available. Make sure to not leave any gaps without insulation.
Seal gaps and cracks in doors and windows
Winter winds whistling through overlooked openings can quickly freeze exposed water pipes. Seal places where cold air gets in with caulking or spray foam. Be careful not to plug air vents that appliances need to function properly.
Find your main shut-off valve and label it
Know where to access and how to use your main water shut-off valve. You can usually find it in your basement or crawl space near your water meter. Turning off your water quickly will limit damage and control costs in case a frozen pipe bursts.
Track your usage on our Cleveland Water Portal
Monitoring your water usage on a regular basis through our Cleveland Water Portal will help you know how much water you use on average and if something is out of the ordinary – such as a leak from a frozen pipe.
Leave a pencil-lead-thin stream of water flowing
During the worst of a cold spell, allow a small flow of water to run from the faucet that is furthest from your meter. Water continuously flowing throughout the pipes in your home can help prevent them from freezing. You can also leave your cabinet doors open to allow the heat of your house to circulate around plumbing under sinks.
Turn off the water if you are away for a long period of time
If you’ll be away from home for several days, turn the water off at the main valve and drain the outside faucets. Or, leave your thermostat set at 55 degrees or higher to ensure your home stays warm enough to keep interior plumbing from freezing.