As we’re all well aware when water reaches the point of freezing, it expands. This isn’t a problem when you put an ice cube tray in your freezer, however, when talking about your entire plumbing system, freezing water is one of the biggest threats, not only for the system but for your home as well.
So, what can you do to protect your plumbing? Should you only focus on the faucets and hoses in your yard or is there something that you must do inside as well? To make things easier for all homeowners that are wondering the same thing, here is a list of tips that’ll allow you to get your plumbing ready for the cold winter days:
1. Firstly, Take Care of Your Garden Faucets
One of the first things that you need to do is to close the faucets located in your backyard. Now, keep in mind, before doing anything else, you should turn off the water valve, and then let the faucet run so that you allow all the liquid to come out.
If you don’t extract all the liquid from the tubes, they’ll most likely freeze, which will then lead to them cracking and breaking. Also, leave the cap loose and place a container under the tap, if there are any drips, you should replace your shut-off valve.
2. Remove All Gardening Hoses + Empty Them
Once you take care of your garden faucets, you shouldn’t neglect taking care of your gardening hoses. Why? Well, if you leave it connected, any excess water in it will freeze, and it could easily back up into the tubes in your house, which will, of course, crack and damage them. Thus, ensure that you disconnect all hoses from the taps in your yard, drain them, and then store them in your basement, garage, or gardening shed until next spring or summer.
3. Cover All The Taps + Bibs
Emptying the taps and hoses isn’t enough, you’ll also have to shield them. Luckily, there is a wide range of insulated covers that you could purchase in all home centers, and by installing them, you’ll slow down and even prevent heat loss from the pipes that travel within your walls. They are incredibly affordable – approximately 5 dollars – yet, they’re incredibly beneficial when it comes to protecting a plumbing system.
4. Warmth Cables Are a Must
No plumbing system is flawless, which is one of the main reasons the experts from www.lpgs.com.au recommend homeowners to install heat cables that’ll perfectly protect weak pipes.
They feature a thermostat that’ll display the temperature of the tubes, and if it gets too low, the cables will generate heat that’ll keep them from freezing. Keep in mind, you’ll require a power outlet so that you can plug the wires in, and relying on the size you require, you can get these heat cables for $10 to $50.
5. Take a Look at The Condition of The Rim Joists
Although you may not realize this, the rim joists are one of the most common areas where cold air enters, which is why you need to check their condition. If there are any gaps or cavities around them, you should purchase expandable foam and fill in the crevices between the joists.
Remember, you shouldn’t place it over the tubes since this will hinder heat from warming them, thus, be careful when using the foam to the openings. Besides this, you may also want to check and see if there are any holes and opening around tubes, wires, and cables that pass through the exterior wall of your house.
Why should you do this? Well, again, these gaps will allow chilly air to enter your house, which can lead to the tubes freezing. Just like the joists, use expandable foam for sealing them off and if you aren’t sure about your skills, you could always opt for hiring professional help.
6. Don’t Forget to Shut The Water Off if Not Home
A lot of us choose to go on winter vacation and if you’re planning on doing the same thing, you mustn’t forget to shut your water off if you won’t be home for a specific period of time. By doing so, you’ll ensure that there is less damage to your home, even if some of the tubes break while you aren’t there. Also, if you own an icemaker, you’ll have to turn it off as well, since the bin can get full, forcing the device to use more power and damage your home.
7. The Tubes Will Require Protection Too
A lot of us have some pipes in rooms that aren’t unheated – which can include attics, basements, garages, and crawl areas – and if you have tubes located in these areas, you’ll need to place heat cables and protect them.
Now, you shouldn’t just insulate them since this won’t provide too much protection, instead, you should also add heat cables to them, mostly because this will completely ensure that the pipes won’t freeze over time.
8. Keeping The Temperature Steady is Important
Last on our list, but quite important as everything else is the fact that you have to keep the temperature in your home steady when a cold period occurs. Of course, the definition of a cold snap will heavily rely on where you reside, nonetheless, when the extreme cold hits, you must ensure that you keep your thermostat steady. If the temperatures drop exponentially, you might need to turn the thermostat up for a few degrees to guarantee that the tubes don’t freeze.
Although a lot of homeowners neglect to take care of their plumbing system before and during winter, this is incredibly important, especially since protecting the pipes and cables inside and outside of our home can prevent further and more expensive damage to your property and house.
Since you now know what you have to do in order to protect your plumbing system during winter, you shouldn’t lose time. Instead, you should return to the beginning of our article, and start with the first piece of advice we’ve mentioned – which is ensuring that you drain and cover all the faucets in your backyard.