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How to Winterize Pipes: Prevent Freezing & Save Thousands

It’s hard to believe that winter is just around the corner. If you’re like many homeowners then you may be getting your home ready for the cold. Your plumbing system constitutes one of the most important things to protect from the cold. Burst pipes can cause significant damage, as well as costing you water pressure in your home.

How to Winterize Pipes

Here is a quick plumbing winterization checklist to get you started. Taking note of the parts of your home’s plumbing, such as the faucets and valves, will make sure you don’t miss anything, so make a brief list. You can mark off the steps as you complete them, so you’ll know you’ve completed everything you need to do. You won’t have any surprises to worry about when you check your vacant property the next time, which could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Tips for Winterizing Your Plumbing

The following steps can help you winterize the plumbing pipes in your home or business:

  1. Close the main water valve, then turn off the water pump and the water heater. When there is no water in the tank, it will protect the heater’s heating elements.

  2. Make sure all drain valves and taps are open. Ensure that every tap on your list is open by ticking them off. Water could be held inside pipes due to a closed tap creating a vacuum. It is recommended that all faucets and valves remain open all winter.

  3. Blow any excess water out of the pipes with an air compressor.

  4. Your hot water tank should be drained completely once the drain valve is opened. You may need to connect a garden hose to your hot water tank if it doesn’t have a floor drain.

  5. Dispose of any remaining water in the holding tank, especially that located in the rubber diaphragm, which is used in conjunction with the water tank to build pressure. Antifreeze should also be added to the jet pump case as an additional protective measure.

  6. As much water as you can from toilet tanks and toilet bowls should be flushed from the toilets. Add antifreeze if you are unable to remove all the water. This will prevent any water from freezing and cracking.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Insulation. Few things winterize your plumbing system more effectively than insulating your water pipes. The water in the pipes is under pressure so that it can flow up your pipes and into your home. If the water freezes then it won’t have anywhere to go and the pressure will continue to build until it bursts the pipe. If you live in an area where the temperature gets below 20° F (-6° C) then you should probably consider insulating your pipes.
  • Drain exterior faucets. Your home likely has an outdoor hose bib or a faucet with a hose connected to it for washing cars and watering plants. Shut off the main water supply to those faucets, remove any hoses attached to them, and then turn them on again. This will drain any excess water in the pipes so that it doesn’t freeze and damage your plumbing. You might also consider draining your hoses to prevent them from freezing as well.
  • Keep indoor fixtures warm. Seal off any cracked windows or doors near your fixtures and incoming pipes. Anywhere in your home that isn’t insulated well could allow the pipes to freeze.
  • Address crawl spaces. Don’t forget about insulating the pipes that run under your home, in your attic or in your crawl spaces. These areas are probably not insulated, which means that the pipes in them can get very cold as well.
  • Insulate the water heater. Your water heater probably isn’t in danger of freezing but the cold weather can sap a lot of heat from it. Consider insulating it in order to reduce your energy usage throughout the winter.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

If your pipes do freeze, you should turn on the closest cold water faucet to relieve pressure created by the freezing water. Wrap the pipes in towels soaked with warm water to slowly thaw them. Do not try to use a hair dryer or blow torch to thaw the pipes because the rapid change in temperature can cause the pipes to crack.

Trust JD Service Now With Your Winterizing Pipe Needs

If your pipe is still freezing, despite all these efforts, it may be time for an emergency plumbing service call. JD Service Now’s highly qualified plumbing technicians are prepared to handle your frozen pipes. We are happy to help you this winter season – we even provide special offers and financing options to help with your service needs. To find out more about how we can help, give us a call today at (919) 383-7000!

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