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How to Winterize your Home and Protect your Pipes

The cold winter months can take a toll on your home’s water system. Sub-zero temperatures can lead to frozen pipes, which not only inhibits your water supply, but can lead to thousands of dollars in damages if the pipes burst.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to winterize your home and dodge disaster this winter. Follow these simple tips to keep your pipes from freezing and stop preventable flood damage. 

Why Winterize Your Home?

Winterizing your home refers to a range of tasks that help to keep you warm, minimize energy costs, and protect your home from harm that can result from frigid temperatures and harsh winter conditions.

After you’ve sealed potential energy leaks and ensured that your heating system is dialed, one of the most important things you can do to winterize your home is seasonal plumbing maintenance. A little effort goes a long way to keep the water flowing and keep your pipes clear all winter long.

When water freezes, it expands. If the temperature in your pipes drops below freezing, there is a risk of pipe fracture or rupture, which can lead to catastrophic water damage. Follow these simple tips below to ensure this doesn’t happen to you! 

Winterize your Home and Avoid Frozen Pipes – Be Prepared 

·      Get familiar with your plumbing system. Know where your main water line valve is and how to turn it off if a problem arises. If you’re uncertain about how to turn off the main supply, contact your water service provider or get in touch with the experts here at Ashton plumbing. 

·      Consider using a heat cable. A heat cable functions to monitor the temperature of your pipes and works in sync with your heating system to regulate the pipe’s temperatures to prevent freezing. 

·      Take care of both indoor and outdoor plumbing maintenance to keep everything working efficiently, even in the coldest months of the year. 

Outdoor Maintenance 

·      Remove and drain all exterior hoses. Leaving the hose connected can lead to ice build-up, which increases pressure to indoor water lines and can cause a potential leak or burst. 

·      Drain all outdoor water lines by turning off the water supply to outdoor faucets and draining any remaining water by leaving the taps open until they run dry. 

·      Cover outdoor faucets or hose spigots with an outdoor faucet sock or cover. This further prevents cold temperatures and unwanted ice from entering your home’s piping system. 

Indoor Maintenance 

·      Insulate your pipes. There are foam insulation sleeves that can be slipped over the pipes without having to disconnect anything, or fibreglass can be wrapped around the piping system. This is especially important in plumbing that runs through exterior walls or crawl spaces. Insulation helps prevent the temperature in your pipes from dropping below freezing and prevents cracking. 

·      Seal air leaks. Check for leaks in your home in areas around doors, windows, and exterior wall sockets, and seal them with caulking, weather stripping, or insulation where needed. Closing off crawl spaces and sealing vents can go a long way in ensuring that cold air doesn’t enter your home from ventilation that leads outside.

·      Monitor the temperature of your home. Adjust your thermostat so that the temperature of your home doesn’t drop below zero, even during a cold snap. 

·      Open cabinet doors to circulate warm air and allow it to reach the pipes. This is particularly effective in cabinets beneath the kitchen or bathroom sinks. 

·      During extreme cold spells, turn your faucet on and let it run slowly or drip. Running water won’t freeze, and letting it escape will alleviate any excess pressure from within the piping system. Letting this pressure out prevents bursting or damaged pipes.

·      If you’re planning to escape the cold and go vacation during the winter, plan to leave the heat on at a low temperature to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze. Depending on how long you’ll be gone, it can be a good idea to turn off the water and drain your pipes, and ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your home. 

If you have further questions or would like some help to winterize your home, call the experts at Ashton, we’re here to support you every step of the way!

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