Kost's Korner

How to prepare your pipes for the first freeze of winter

Winters can be particularly harsh on your home’s plumbing. Here are some ways to start preparing now and avoid damage when winter arrives:

  1. Wrap your outdoor pipes
    Using heat tape to wrap your outdoor pipes can help prevent them from freezing and bursting. While you’re there, take a look at your entire outdoor system. Clean out your gutters before falling leaves and snow become trapped and cause water damage or leaks.
  2. Get Your Sump Pump Ready
    Your sump pump removes excess water from your basement and crawl spaces and pipes it through your home's wastewater system. It's essential to maintain this appliance by regularly inspecting and cleaning it out before winter arrives. Like other plumbing fixtures, sump pumps can easily freeze up. This can cause it to stop working and can mean significant damage in the event of a sudden thaw. 
  3. Keep your drains flowing freely
    It's always recommended to give your drains a checkup regularly before increased use during the colder months.  Be sure you have necessary drain tools on hand for use in the months ahead including drain snakes, the right wrenches, and a water meter key.
  4. Remember your outdoor faucets
    Remove and store any outdoor hoses. Summertime water left behind in these hoses can freeze and expand, causing the attached faucets to burst. Also, like your indoor faucets, a leaky outdoor faucet, big or spigot, can wreak havoc on your entire plumbing system in the event of a freeze. These faucets are usually directly exposed to the elements, so take an extra hard look for any leaks or damage before, during, and after the winter months. 
  5. Keep your indoor pipes insulated
    The pipes inside your home should be kept well-insulated regardless of the weather outside. Pipes located in colder areas of your home, like your basement, should be maintained at a temperature above freezing. If not, they could freeze and burst or leak after a thaw. Insulating your pipes also help you conserve hot water and reduce your power bill each month.