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How to Winterize Plumbing

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It is important to make sure your home is prepared for the winter. Frozen pipes can cause a huge headache during the winter months. The best way to avoid any costly repairs from frozen pipes is to prepare your home for the cold before it hits. Here are a few tips to get your home ready for winter and what to do if you happen to get frozen pipes.

First off, before you start preparing for winter, it is important to make sure your family knows where the emergency water shutoff valve is! It is good to know this just in case you have a pipe burst in the middle of winter. Getting to the main shutoff valve is important and can determine how much damage the pipe burst does to your home. Now here are some ways to prevent pipes from freezing and other tips on winterizing your plumbing.

  • If you have pipes in an unheated garage, basement, or crawl space, it is a good idea to wrap your pipes in heat tape or insulated sleeves that insulate the exposed pipe in your home. Also consider putting an insulated blanket over your water heater if it is located in a cold area.

  • Keep a slow trickle of water running through your faucet. This is especially important if the pipes connected to the faucet run through an unheated area or to the outdoors.

  • Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to allow the warmer air in the home to circulate around the pipes, helping them to not freeze.

  • Have your thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night. If you leave town for a longer period of time, set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees.

  • Disconnect your garden hose and turn off the water supply to the spigot.

  • Close the vents around the outside of your home

Now that we have covered how to winterize your pipes and prevent your pipes from freezing, what do you do if the proper steps were not taken and your pipes freeze? If you have a frozen pipe that has burst, first thing you will want to do is to turn off your main water supply ASAP! If you don't have a burst pipe, you should locate the pipe that is frozen. Typically it will be against an exterior wall or a pipe coming to your home through the foundation. Make sure your faucets are open, once the pipe begins to thaw, water will begin to flow again. Running water will help melt the ice. If you have access to the frozen pipe, you can use a heating pad, hair dryer, or space heater near it to get the water flowing again in less time! These tips will help make your winter months run smoothly when it comes to your plumbing. Ask a Sutherlands employee with help on anything you need to winterize your plumbing!

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