5 Tips to Avoid Plumbing Disasters this Winter

Posted On: November 11, 2019

Middle aged man repairing burst pipe,plumbing, focus on foreground

Richmond residents know all too well that the colder months of winter can be unpredictable when it comes to temperature and frozen precipitation. Not only are the pipes on the outside of our homes vulnerable to freezing, but so are the ones inside if the proper steps aren’t taken to prevent this potentially costly and inconvenient problem.

Pipes exposed to severe cold, like swimming pool supply lines, garden hoses, sprinkler lines, or those in unheated areas like attics, garages, kitchen cabinets, and basements, are at the greatest risk.  Luckily, Short Pump Heating & Air has a few tips to prevent freezing pipes, water damage, and the expensive repairs that go with them:

  1. Keep your pipes warm.
    This may seem obvious, but frozen pipes happen more often than you think with families and homeowners traveling for the holidays. Consider wrapping or insulating your pipes, especially those close to the outside walls, in your attic, and under your home.  Some good insulation options include pipe sleeves, heat tape, or heating cables. Make sure to keep your garage door closed if you have plumbing pipes in the garage.
  2. Let the heat in.
    Opening the cabinet doors under the kitchen and bathroom sinks allows warmer air in your home to move and circulate around your plumbing pipes.
  3. Unplug your garden hose.
    Forgetting to do this before temperatures drop can cause some expensive damage! Be sure to unplug your garden hose and make sure valves are turned off to avoid ice and pressure buildup.
  4. Fix home plumbing leaks now.
    There’s no better time to get leaks repaired than before winter strikes. Check all your faucets and pipes for drips and puddles.  If any look questionable, contact your local plumber to get them back up in tiptop shape and ready for the winter months.
  5. If going out of town, turn off your water.
    If you are planning to travel for the holidays or will be away for more than a few days, be sure to shut off the main water valve and drain the water in the pipes before leaving. In addition, be sure to keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature (at least 55 degrees) so your home is kept above freezing and frozen pipes are avoided altogether.

Additional Plumbing Winter Care Advice

  • Know the location of your main water shutoff in case of an emergency.
  • Drain and winterize your sprinkler system
  • Leave faucets on a very slow drip on the coldest of nights. This relieves pressure from the plumbing lines and keeps water moving, making it less likely to freeze.
  • Consider a cover for your outdoor hose bibbs to insulate the valve and connected water lines. Something like this hose bibb cover or even this one should do the job.

If you’re concerned about your home’s plumbing system or have any questions on prepping your pipes for winter, contact Short Pump Heating & Air to discuss your options and let us help you avoid potential plumbing problems today! 

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