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Jan13

4 Tips to Avoid a Costly Winter Plumbing Leak

4 Tips to Avoid a Costly Winter Plumbing Leak

Once the air temperature drops below freezing, pipes in unheated spaces may freeze. Standing water left in the pipes will freeze and expand, causing the pipes to burst and flood your home. Damage from frozen or burst pipes can cost thousands of dollars in water damage to your home.

Prepare your plumbing in advance to avoid a costly disaster this winter season.

Insulate pipes

Pipes in unheated spaces such as the garage, attic, and basement are more prone to freezing and bursting. Luckily, preventing freezing pipes can be as easy as installing fiberglass or foam insulation.

Pipe insulation will not prevent your pipes from freezing, it can also improve the life and performance of your plumbing.  

If your home’s plumbing system is not properly insulated, have it wrapped with insulation to keep the pipes warm.

Disconnect water hoses outside your home

As mentioned above, water inside the pipes may freeze and expand during a cold snap. As such, winterizing your outdoor garden hose is a wise move. 

Most exterior faucets have a separate shutoff valve. Locate the shut-off valve and turn it off. Go outside and open the faucet. Drain any water out of the pipe. Let the water run until it is fully drained. Drain the hose entirely of water and store it inside the house.

Keep the heat on

Energy bills rise during the winter. Some people turn the thermostat down in the hopes of saving energy. Saving energy is good. But before you go crazy with turning the thermostat really low, you also have to think about your pipes.

Turning the heat too low increases the risk of frozen and ruptured pipes. Be sure to keep the heat on and set the thermostat to no lower than 55 degrees. This should provide enough heat to keep the pipes warm and prevent water inside from freezing. 

It is also a good idea to leave the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink open, so the air can warm the pipes.

Know where your home’s main water valve is

In case of a major incident such a frozen pipe that has burst, you need to shut off water supply to your entire home. Everyone in your home should know where the main shutoff valve is located, and how to turn it off in case of emergency. This is the best protection against a catastrophic water damage.