How to Winterize Your Pipes this Fall

As we head into Fall with Winter soon to follow, it’s never too early to think about ways you need to prepare your home for the cold temperatures that are sure to come.

One of the main things every homeowner in Prescott needs to think about when winterizing their home is protecting their pipes. While this could mean your own body’s physical pipes as the chill also brings about cold and flu season, what we’re talking about here is the pipes that make up the various water systems within your home.

Some steps to winterize your home can easily get overlooked in the chaos of the Holiday season, but we can’t stress enough how important this is to prevent serious future damage to your home. This includes your own home as well as any investment properties you may own. Remember, the landlord is responsible for these kinds of fixes should they arise and trust us when we say a burst pipe can become very costly, very quick.

That all being said, right now, the Fall season, is the perfect time to winterize your pipes before the below freezing temps kick in.

Preventative Measures to Keep Your Pipes from Bursting:

Insulate Your Pipes: One of the first things you should do to winterize your home’s plumbing is purchase a thick layer of insulation that you can wrap around your pipes. These insulating tubes are made of fiberglass or polyethylene and can be purchased online or at a hardware store. For extra protection, wrap your home’s pipes in heat-tape before you apply the insulation to give them additional protection from cold temperatures.

Let Your Faucets Drip: Now this is something you’ll want to wait to do until temperatures drop further and are looking like they are going to stay there, but what you do is turn on your faucets. This keeps the water moving through your system and slows down the freezing process. However, there’s no need to waste gallons of water, aiming for about five drips per minute coming out should be sufficient enough.

Open Your Cabinet Doors: When cold weather hits, open any cabinet doors that are covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This will allow for the home’s warmer air to better circulate under the cabinet and around the pipe, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t necessarily help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and potentially limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.

Turn water off to pipes you won’t be using: An example of this would be outdoor hose bibs and the like. Turn the water off and possibly use an air compressor to get any excess water out of the pipes.

What to do if Your Pipes are Already Freezing:

Warp them in Warm Towels: Try wrapping them with warm towels, which might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top or use already-wet towels (careful handling the boiling water and hot towels!). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again and save you from a major burst as long as you address the exposed pipes once you’ve thawed them out again.

Pull Out Your Hairdryer: A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice, not your pipes.

Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen: Are your pipes fully and completely frozen? Turn the water off immediately! Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it! You can then try one of the steps above to help thaw the pipes, but if nothing is working, we suggest calling a local plumber to come help you remedy the problem.

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