Winter weather can mean trouble for your home's water pipes. When water in your pipes freezes, it expands, putting a lot of pressure on the pipe wall. This can cause your pipes to burst, leaving you without water and a potentially hefty repair bill. Luckily, you can take steps to protect your plumbing from the winter chill, before and even after a freeze event.
1. Before Cold Weather Sets In - most of what you can do to protect your plumbing from winter weather is preventative:
Shut off and drain any outdoor hoses, sprinklers, and irrigation systems before temperatures plummet.
Wrap your pipes in insulation or pipe sleeves
Find your main water valve and ensure you can turn it off. Your water main might be in your basement or under a metal cover in your yard near the street.
Close off crawl spaces, seal any holes, and ensure all the pipes in your home are protected from outside air.
2. When Freezing Temps Arrive - protect your pipes by keeping them warm and keeping water moving through them:
Open cabinet and vanity doors to ensure your pipes are the same temperature as the interior of the house
Set your home's thermostat at 55 degrees F or higher
Let a small trickle run from your faucet - moving water can't freeze in one place.
3. If Your Pipes Freeze - if water freezes in your pipes there might still be something you can do to protect them:
Immediately shut off the main water valve to your home.
Slowly thaw pipes with a blow dryer or a small space heater. Never warm pipes with an open flame.
After the water in the pipe is thawed, slowly turn the water back on and carefully inspect your pipes and joints for leaks.