When winter comes, in colder climates, it typically comes with freezing temperatures. Temperatures below zero can lead to severe plumbing damage, such as frozen pipes. To prevent this type of damage, it’s important to take a few basic steps to prepare your home for winter. Weatherizing the inside and outside of your home only takes a small amount of time, but the rewards are well worth it. Let’s learn some basics about preparing your home for winter and preventing plumbing damage.
Weatherize Outside Your Home
When the temperatures begin to drop in late fall, it’s time to begin thinking about winterizing the outside of your home. If you leave an outside spigot on, the water in the pipe can freeze and expand, backing up into the pipe and breaking it. For this reason, it’s extremely important that you remove any hoses attached to outdoor taps, empty them of any remaining water, and store them indoors for the winter. Then shut off the pipes from the indoor valve, so that there’s no water in the pipes to freeze and cause damage.
Weatherize Inside Your Home
To save energy and prevent frozen pipes, it’s important to also winterize inside your home. If you have pipes in a crawl space for example, that isn’t heated and depends on the outdoor ambient temperature, you may need to wrap them with heat tape. This tape hooks into an electrical outlet and wraps around your pipes. When you plug it in, it warms the pipe and prevents water running through it from freezing.
A large amount of energy may also be lost through the air around your hot water heater, if it is in a cold area of your house. To prevent this, you can wrap your hot water heater in a special insulating blanket that helps keep warmth in and prevent energy loss. Taking these two steps to weatherize inside your home may save you quite a bit of money on your energy bill.
Pay Attention to the Ambient Temperature
If you own property that will be unoccupied during the winter, such as an apartment complex or rental home, you’ll need to pay attention to the outdoor temperature in your area and heat the building appropriately. Without heat, the low temperature indoors can cause pipes to freeze and water damage to occur. If you have renters, you may want to specify in your lease the temperature you expect them to keep the home at if they are not present.
To prepare for winter in cold climates, it’s important to make sure that your home’s indoor temperature is above freezing at all times. Pay special attention to any areas where pipes are exposed to the outdoor air, such as crawlspaces. You should also pay careful attention to places in your home that are cooler than others, such as basements. To keep pipes in these areas from freezing, consider wrapping them in heat tape to prevent damage. Careful preparation in late fall can prevent a great deal of damage as winter temperatures hit, so be sure to take appropriate measures.