Winter time and cold weather bring with them added responsibilities for homeowners. Winterization can be especially challenging for new homeowners, who are used to landlords taking care of things. It’s best to start preparing your home for winter in the fall. One important maintenance challenge is to prevent your pipes from freezing when the temperatures dip. Here are 7 steps to take to care for your pipes in cold weather.
1. Turn the Faucets On
You should turn your faucets on whenever the temperatures drop to freezing.
Be sure to turn on both indoor and outdoor faucets. This prevents freezing by keeping the water in the pipes moving. You don’t need a lot of water flowing, five drips a minute is sufficient to keep pipes from freezing
2. Keep Cabinet Doors Open
Keeping cabinet doors under sinks open will help the warm air better circulate to those pipes. This obviously does not help pipes in the walls but it can help keep warm water running in the pipes.
3. Wrap Pipes with Towels
In the event that your pipes are already starting to freeze, wrap them in towels soaked with hot water. You can either wrap the pipes first and pour boiling water over the towels, or soak the towels in hot water and then wrap them around the pipes. You may want to use gloves for this process. This will help melt the ice in the pipes and get the water moving.
4. Use a Hair Dryer or Heat Gun
Blowing hot air onto the pipes can help if wrapping them in towels doesn’t work. Don’t use anything that creates a flame, such as a blowtorch, as this will damage your pipes.
5. Maintain Your Home’s Temperature
Keep the temperature inside your home above 32 degrees, especially in the areas where there are water lines I would recommend at least 50 degrees to help avoid cold spots in the house reaching below freezing.
6. Use Heat Tape
You can apply a product called heat tape to your pipes to keep them warm. You can do this yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
7. If Pipes Freeze, Turn Water Off
In the event that your pipes have already frozen, turn the water off. Make sure you know where to find the master shut-off valve. Also disconnect outdoor hoses from their faucets. This will help prevent your pipes from bursting, which can ultimately happen if they freeze.