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An old pipe breaks in freezing weather

How to Prevent Plumbing Leaks in Winter

When the cold weather comes, people start to notice drafty windows and doors, and they use weatherstripping to insulate their homes against the elements. That’s a simple fix, but you still have more winter-prep work to do. You need to protect your plumbing before freezing temperatures cause the pipes to burst.

Insulate the Pipes

Thermal heating tape or foam tubing is an inexpensive, effective way to protect your pipes. Follow the directions, and don’t forget to include pipes in unheated areas, like attics, basements, garages, and crawl spaces. If your hot water tank is in the garage or basement, insulate those pipes as well.

Keep the Heat On

Adjust the thermostat so that the house stays warm enough to keep the hidden pipes within the walls from freezing. Don’t allow the temperature to drop below 55 degrees, even if you are away from home for a few days. Open cabinet doors under the kitchen and bathroom sink to allow the room’s warmth to reach them.

Drain Water From Outdoor Pipes

Don’t forget to protect your outside pipes and plumbing fixtures. To be safe, disconnect your garden hoses to protect them from damage caused by the water in the hose freezing, expanding, and cracking the hose.

Once hoses are disconnected and stored, turn off the water supply and open all the outdoor faucets to drain water from the feeder pipes. When the faucets stop dripping, leave the faucets open and the water turned off. Insulate any exposed areas on the outdoor pipes and faucets.

Your sprinkler system contains pressurized water, which may injure you when you force it out of the system. Unlike a faucet, your sprinklers have multiple heads that need draining. Check your owner’s manual or call a professional to complete this task. Failure to maintain the system can result in broken pipes and expensive repairs. When the warm weather returns, a professional should flush and test the system for damage incurred during the winter.

Keep One Inside Faucet Dripping

Pipes crack when ice freezes and expands, causing pressure to build between the ice block and the faucet. When the pressure reaches a pipe’s structural limit, the pipe bursts, releasing the pressure and causing you a massive headache and an expensive repair bill.

To prevent pressure build-up, keep one cold-water faucet dripping. The most effective location is the one farthest from where the water enters the home. That keeps water flowing through the entire system, which may decrease the likelihood of ice forming.

This winter, prepare your pipes to meet the challenges of winter’s freezing temperatures. If you experience a burst pipe, shut off the water and contact Flatirons Plumbing in Arvada, CO and request an emergency plumbing repair.