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Winter is here and it is time to winterize your home before the temperature drops below freezing. Freezing pipes can be a nightmare, right? It is not just about the leaks that come with freezing pipes, but also the probable heavy plumbing damage. Frozen pipes can cause large scale damage to your entire plumbing system, causing you to shell out hefty amounts for repair. This is why you need to winterize plumbing before the damage is done. 

Winterizing plumbing pipes is basically the process to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures. Households that experience freezing temperatures during the winter months should consider winterizing a must-do.  The concept is based on the fact that water expands when frozen to ice. This expansion in cold weather may cause heavy damage to your pipes. Winterizing helps to keep water flowing in the pipes. 

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When do you need to winterize?

insulation materialInsulation Material, by Chris RubberDragon on flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

If you are planning to go on a vacation during the winter, you definitely need to winterize plumbing before you leave. Unattended pipes that are exposed to the cold air for long are likely to get frozen. 

Take a look 4 Ways You Could Lose The Heat In Your Home This Winter

How do you winterize plumbing?

plumbing insulationIn the basement (3), by SuSanA Secretariat on flickr [CC BY 2.0]

To successfully winterize plumbing, you need to follow:

  1. Locate your main water supply valve and turn off the water. Turn the pump and water heaters off to prevent it from burning out when there is no water inside it. 
  2. Use all your drain valves to remove water from all the pipes and storage devices. Keeping the taps and valves open helps to avoid creating a vacuum. 
  3. Use compressors to remove the extra water from the pipes.
  4. Drain the water out of the hot water tanks completely.
  5. Make sure to empty your holding tank. As a preventive measure, you may want to add antifreeze.
  6. Flush all the toilet tanks to drain water out of them. Add antifreeze to prevent cracks due to freezing. 
  7. Add antifreeze to all the drain taps in your entire plumbing system.

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How to prevent freezing pipes?

freeze pipesImage by G J Whitby from Pixabay CC0

The first step in preventing freezing pipes is to identify the pipes that are likely to freeze. Take special care to check the outdoor pipes carefully as they are most vulnerable to freezing. Preventing pipes from freezing is not that complicated if you remember the following points. 

  1. You need to insulate the pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. You may use wrapping or insulation sleeves or slip-on foam to insulate the pipes. If you are looking for a more long term solution, you can try replacing the copper and steel pipes with the plastic alternatives. Plastic pipes are less likely to freeze and are more tolerant of cold temperatures. 
  2. You need to inspect your entire piping to identify cracks and noticeable damages. Also, you will need to seal any unwanted opening. 
  3. You should have a heating source inside your house and keep it on during the colder months. This will help you to prevent the pipes from freezing. 
  4. Have a faucet dripping to allow free water movement. If water is allowed to move continuously, it will not freeze so easily. 
  5. Do not forget to insulate the hose bibs. It is easy to miss out on this step, but the damage associated with it can be huge. 
  6. You may want to use heat tapes to winterize pipes. However, there are certain safety recommendations that you need to follow to avoid fire accidents. 

Read more: Home Winterization Tips: Expert Advice To Stay Warm

When and How to Winterize Plumbing of Your Home was last modified: December 9th, 2020 by Billy Guteng

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