The 1, 2,3,'s For Winterizing Your Plumbing
Cold and inclement weather is the leading culprit when it comes to water line or pipe damage. Most people do not realize there are a few things you can do to reduce this risk tremendously and save money on costly repairs and water damage. Now do not fret that this is costly, as winterizing your pipes is actually quite inexpensive and so easy to do a child could with their eyes closed. This article will lay out what you need to do with enough details that anyone can do it and rest assured during the cold nights that your pipes will be safe and secure.
Insulating exposed pipes properly is the first step we want to take. By exposed pipes we mean those that are actually visible outside or those that may run under the floor of a home where they are in a crawl space exposed to the temperatures and internal pipes that are visible along outside walls, like the water pipes under your kitchen sinks. You can purchase several feet of foam split tubing that wraps around the pipes preventing them from freezing. This stuff is available at any home or general merchandise store and as easy as it gets when it comes to installation. You also need to tape up any joints and places where the foam butts together with insulated tape or wrap it with some insulation that you most likely have laying on the ground in the crawl space.
If for some reason you have exposed piping running from the house across your property to a spigot, it needs to be buried immediately as the winter elements will more than likely not only freeze the pipes causing them to burst but weaken the pipe based on snow, ice, etc. If you simply have downpipes from a spigot, you can wrap these with insulation and buy a cheap cover for the spigot to protect it.
You always need to have a heat source in the winter. Fireplaces and wood burning stoves are a great way to heat the home but they may not cover the essential areas that contain pipes. Think about running some form of electrical or gas heating on a level that is warm enough to keep the pipes from getting cold and open the cabinets in the bathrooms and kitchen to allow some warmth to keep them from freezing.
Keep your pipes clean and free flowing by running those rarely used faucets once in awhile to prevent hard water build up which can actually lead to water freezing faster in the pipe. Make sure your faucets are turned on to slightly drip. This will keep the water moving and flowing water has a tendency to not ice up.
As you can see, weatherizing your pipes is very simple. This certainly does not mean that they will never freeze as brutally cold temperatures will win out at certain times. This does reduce the risk and the costs are minimal when compared to the loss of water from a burst pipe and the repair costs that go along with it.