Winter is quickly approaching, which means you don’t have much time to get your plumbing ready for cold weather. In Wisconsin, we all know just how damaging freezing temperatures can be to our pipes. However, you can save yourself from a springtime plumbing disaster by taking the appropriate preventative measures. The experts at Steve’s Plumbing and Heating explain what you can do to help ensure your pipes stay in tip-top condition year-round.
Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
Never forget to drain and shut off all of your outdoor faucets before winter weather sets in. As we all know, water expands when it freezes, and if you leave water in those pipes, you could end up with extensive damage come spring. If the pipes feeding your outdoor faucets are already full of water, that water can expand up to 10 percent as it turns to ice. Because there’s very little room for expansion in an already full pipe, the expansion will create tremendous pressure against the pipe’s interior. The weakest point is always the first to give, so don’t be surprised to find burst valves and joints if you forget to perform this critical maintenance action.
Insulate Your Pipes
If your pipes aren’t already well insulated, autumn is the perfect time to change that. Even if you only install temporary insulation to last throughout the winter season, a little protection is better than none. Similar to the pipes that feed your outdoor hoses, uninsulated or poorly insulated plumbing can lead to water expansion and disaster when temperatures drop below freezing—and we all know how often that happens here in Wisconsin. To temporarily insulate unprotected pipes, cut sheets of foam insulation to fit each pipe. Alternatively, you can purchase foam tubes designed to fit snugly around your plumbing. Secure the foam with duct tape if it doesn’t already contain adhesive.
Fix Drips and Leaks Before Winter
Major plumbing problems typically have small beginnings, usually in the form of a tiny drip or leak. To avoid a burst pipe in the dead of winter and a costly emergency repair, call your local plumbing repair company to examine any drips or leaks before cold weather arrives. Your technician will perform a thorough inspection to inform you of any existing damage, and based on the evaluation, will then perform the necessary repairs. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Are You a Snowbird? Shut off Your Main Water Line
If you plan to head south for the winter, it’s imperative that you shut off your main water valve before you leave. Shutting off your home’s water and draining the plumbing clears the pipes of any sitting water, ensuring your pipes don’t freeze and burst while your away. Here’s how to complete this critical maintenance action:
● Locate the main water shutoff valve. If you’re unaware of its location, look for your water meter; the valve is typically located near the meter. Call a plumbing professional if you cannot find it, or are uncomfortable performing the task yourself.
● Once you locate the valve, turn the handle until it reaches the closed position. Usually, the handle will stop adjacent to the pipe when the valve is closed. In the open position, the handle is typically parallel to the pipe.
● With the valve closed, you’ll need to drain the pipes in your home. To do this, open every faucet in your house. Keep the faucets open until water no longer flows out of them.
● With the valve still closed, flush each toilet in your home to clear excess water from the bowls and tanks. It may also behoove you to pour plumbing system antifreeze into each toilet tank to prevent any remaining water from freezing. If you’re unsure of which products to use, contact a plumbing professional who can recommend the appropriate products.
● Leave the main water valve in the closed position for the duration of your trip.
Expert Plumbing Repair and Maintenance
If you’re unsure of how to safely and effectively prepare your home’s plumbing for the winter season, call the professionals at Steve’s Plumbing and Heating in central Wisconsin. Our 24/7 team has over 85 years of combined plumbing and heating experience, and we guarantee top-quality work. Whether you need an inspection, a leaky pipe repair, or even a sewer repair, we’re here to help ensure your plumbing is ready for winter. To schedule service or for any questions, contact our team today. Or, to get started right away, feel free to request your free service estimate!