When the cold weather arrives, it’s important to take steps to winterize your home and protect your plumbing from freezing.
What does winterize plumbing mean?
To put it simply, winterizing your plumbing is the act of protecting your pipes/appliances from bursting or freezing.
Why should you winterize your home?
An unheated home is one of the most common causes of frozen and burst pipes. The best way to prevent this from happening is to ensure that your plumbing system will work properly once the cold weather arrives. Winterizing your plumbing isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem, however. There are a number of things homeowners should keep in mind when preparing their homes for winter.
8 Ways to Winterize Your Plumbing
There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your home’s plumbing is ready for the cold weather. Here are some of the most important things you can do to winterize your plumbing:
1. Insulate your pipes
Wrapping your pipes with insulation or heating tape before the cold weather arrives is a good way to prevent them from freezing and experiencing damage. Although you can buy pipe insulation at home improvement stores, it’s easy enough to make yourself: just wind fiberglass insulation around the part of the pipe that sits outside the house.
2. Seal leaks around your doors and windows
The best way to do this is to apply a generous bead of caulk or weather-stripping after you shut the door for the winter. If you don’t have caulk, use old newspapers instead, as they make great insulators too! In addition to preventing cold air from coming into your house, you’ll also save energy by doing this.
3. Add insulation to pipes
Add insulation to any exposed pipes in your basement or crawlspace. Exposed pipes are more vulnerable to the cold, as they may freeze if left unattended. Adding insulation or heat tape (like an electric blanket) will help prevent them from freezing and give you peace of mind when it starts getting really chilly outside.
4. Disconnect sump pump
If you have a sump pump in your garage or basement, make sure to disconnect it and cover it before winter sets in and all the water freezes. If your sump pump is submerged and running all year long, it can be damaged by being constantly submerged by ice during the winter months. To do this, just unhook the power cord and tape it to the pump. If you have a backup sump pump in your garage or basement, make sure that one is hooked up as a replacement.
5. Keep an eye out for frozen water
Although this usually isn’t an issue if you live somewhere with bitter winters, having frozen water can cause serious problems. In addition to potentially creating frozen pipes, which will burst when they thaw out (and thus creating major damage!), having frozen water can prevent your toilet from flushing properly, giving mold the chance to grow all over the place.
6. Turn off hoses
Make sure that any hoses outside that supply your outdoor taps are turned off at their valves before winter sets in. This will cut down on household water usage, which can help reduce your water bill. Move any hoses from outside taps and store them indoors for the winter. This will prevent them from freezing, which would result in a burst hose when temperatures rise again. If you have an outdoor water faucet that’s not being used, turn it off at the valves to prevent freezing as well. Once everything is turned off, make sure to leave the outdoor faucet open a bit. This will drain any remaining water that may freeze and expand in your pipes when temperatures drop.
7. Drain your pool
If you have a pool, drain it before the temperatures dip too low. Otherwise, the water will freeze and cause damage to the interior of your pool. Make sure that any equipment associated with your pool is also properly winterized.
8. Check your fire sprinkler system
Don’t forget to check your fire sprinkler system. If you have one, make sure that it’s turned off at its valves before winter sets in—otherwise it could freeze up when there’s no heat inside and end up causing a flood.
How much does it cost to winterize your plumbing?
It’s possible to winterize your plumbing yourself, but it can get expensive if you need to hire a plumber. The average cost for having your home inspected before the winter months is somewhere between $75 and $150. If any repairs are needed, expect the total bill to be around $100-$300 depending on how many problems have been found. For a plumber to winterize your plumbing system, it’s going to cost around $50-$150 depending on the extent of the work needed.
Do plumbers winterize homes?
Yes, it is common for plumbers to winterize homes in preparation for the cold, winter months.