How to Winterize Your House Plumbing

Have you ever seen a video of a dam bursting? The pressure of the water builds up slowly until small cracks turn into large fissures and the whole thing comes crashing down. Your home’s plumbing is a lot like a dam; when the water pressure inside your pipes gets too high, it can cause them to burst. That’s why winterizing your house plumbing is so important – to prevent problems before they start.

You Need to Winterize Your Plumbing

What do winter temperatures have to do with your plumbing? Well, when water freezes, it expands. This expansion puts a lot of pressure on your pipes and can cause them to rupture. A burst pipe can do a lot of damage to your home; not only will you have to repair the plumbing, but you may also end up with water damage to your walls, ceilings, and floors.

Steps for Winterizing Your House Plumbing

The main strategy for winterizing your house plumbing is to flush them and fill them with an antifreeze solution. It’s easy enough and if you follow these steps, you’ll be done in no time. However, if the DIY route makes you nervous, you don’t have enough time, or something goes wrong, reach out to a licensed plumber and they’ll take care of it for you.

  1. Shut off your main water valve, water pump, and water heater. When there’s no water inside your water heater, you have to protect the heating elements.
  2. Make a list of all your drain valves and taps. Open each one and check them off your list as you go. A closed tap is bad news because it can create a vacuum that will hold water inside of pipes. Keep all valves and taps open throughout the winter.
  3. With an air compressor, blow excess water out of your pipes.
  4. Drain your hot water tank. Not all water tanks have floor drains so you may have to hook a garden hose up to it and direct the water outside.
  5. Make sure to check the holding tank—especially the rubber diaphragm—is completely drained. Add antifreeze to the jet pump case.
  6. Flush the toilets to get rid of any stagnant water in both the tanks and bowls. If there’s still water there, adding some antifreeze will prevent any water from freezing and cracking the toilet.
  7. Check each of your bathtubs, showers, and sinks that could have drain traps. Add a bit of antifreeze to each one of them to prevent water from freezing and cracking in the traps.
  8. Inspect all of your exposed pipes for cracks and leaks. If you find any, make sure to repair them before the cold weather hits.
  9. Add insulation to any exposed pipes. This will help keep them warm and prevent them from freezing.

Tips for Avoiding Frozen Pipes

  • Drain all the water out of your outdoor hoses and sprinkler system. Water that’s left in these pipes can freeze and cause them to burst.
  • Detach your hoses from the spigots and store them indoors.
  • Insulate any exposed pipes in your home, especially those that run through unheated areas like the garage or crawlspace. You can use pipe insulation, available at any hardware store.
  • If you have a sump pump, make sure it’s in good working order and that the pit isn’t frozen. A frozen sump pump can’t do its job, which is to remove water from your basement or crawlspace.
  • Keep your home heated to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even if you’re going away for a long period of time. This will help prevent your pipes from freezing.
  • If your pipes do freeze, don’t try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame! This is extremely dangerous and can cause a fire. Instead, use a hair dryer or a space heater to thaw the pipes slowly and evenly.

Hopefully, these tips will help you keep your plumbing safe this winter. But if you run into any problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed plumber for assistance.

Protect Your Home with Bell Cow Service Company

At Bell Cow Service Company, we’re here to help you with all your plumbing needs, including winterizing your pipes. We’re licensed, bonded, and insured, and our technicians are background-checked so you can be sure you’re in good hands. We’re also available 24/7 for any emergencies that may pop up. Contact us today to schedule a service!