When the first big winter storm hits, many people focus on prepping the outside of the home — shoveling snow, spreading salt, putting the winter tires on the car. Now that the first snow has melted, it’s the perfect time to take preventative steps indoors.
Freezing temperatures that last for days at a time can cause a variety of plumbing problems. When pipes freeze, water in the pipes turns to ice and expands. The pressure causes cracks, whether the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a single day. Even in the south, where cold weather is a rarity, there are simple steps to take to prevent pipes from freezing and damaging structures when temperatures drop.
- Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected during freezing temperatures, water in hoses will freeze and expand causing connecting faucets and pipes to freeze and break.
- Inspect outside faucets. If dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before a freeze.
- If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from the pipes.
- Cover outside faucets using an inexpensive faucet insulation kit.
- Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around exposed pipes.
- If your washing machine is in your unheated garage, turn off water supply lines leading to the washer and disconnect the hoses if temperatures are expected to drop below freezing.
- Allow a trickle of hot and cold water to drip overnight in sinks and bathtubs with supply pipes that run along outside walls and leave sink cabinet doors open to allow warm air from the room to circulate around uninsulated pipes.
- Keep furnace set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Copyright PRNewswire 2013