Winter can be very hard on our infrastructure. These tips can help you prevent leaks that can cost you a lot of money and waste a lot of water.
Before Cold Weather Sets In
Check your sprinkler or irrigation systems
Make sure you’ve turned everything off and fully drained the system.
Identify your home’s freezing points
Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls.
Know how to shut off your water
Locate your main water shut-off valve. You may want to tag or label it so you don’t have to search for it in an emergency.
Strengthen your defenses
Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors.
Protect your pipes
Where pipes are exposed to cold, wrap them with insulation or electrical pipe heater (even fabric or newspaper can help).
When Temperatures Stay Below Freezing
Keep water moving in the pipes
Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. Consider collecting the water for later use.
Keep air moving around pipes
Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
If Your Pipes Do Freeze
Shut off the water immediately
Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without turning off the main shut-off valve.
Thaw pipes with warm air
You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming the air around it with a hair dryer or space heater. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
Be careful turning water back on
Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check pipes and joints for any cracks or leaks that might have been caused by freezing.