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Protect your home this winter by taking these steps to ensure your plumbing is well-maintained.

As summer transitions to fall, it’s time to start thinking about prepping your home’s plumbing in anticipation of cold weather. Taking the proper actions before the first freeze can prevent many common problems associated with unwinterized plumbing. Keep reading for fall plumbing tips from expert plumbers.

plumbing tips for winterDisconnect and drain garden hoses. Store the hoses inside, if possible, to prevent them from sustaining damage from freezing, such as bursting, cracking and loosening of the hose fittings. Failure to disconnect hoses for the winter can also lead to frozen pipes inside the home.

Turn off outdoor faucets at their main shutoff valve. If you can, open the faucet and the bleeder cap on the shutoff valve to drain the pipe. Failing to drain the pipe can cause damage when the liquid left inside freezes. Optional: For added insulation, you can cover the hose bibs with plastic or polystyrene faucet covers (available at any home improvement store).

Protect interior pipes. If your home has pipes in unheated spaces, you may choose to purchase and install heat cable or heat tape. Heat cables are created especially for preventing vulnerable pipes from freezing using an integral thermostat to regulate the temperature of the pipes. To maximize the efficiency of the heat cables, wrap the pipes and cable with insulation. Check with your local plumber to learn about any pipe materials that should not use heat cables.

Seal around rim joists to slow heat loss and prevent cold air intrusion. Being careful not to insulate pipes from the home’s heat, seal cracks and spaces around pipes that pass through exterior walls using caulk or spray insulation.

Drain your water heater. To prevent the buildup of sediment and rust, it is recommended that your water heater is drained at least once a year. As the leaves begin to turn, it may be the best time to have this service performed, as it will allow your water heater to work more efficiently and last longer through the coldest months. It is highly recommended that you call a plumber to perform this task, as it is labor-intensive and could easily go wrong.

protect your plumbing in the winterIf you leave town, shut off the water at the main valve, if possible. Then, drain the system down by turning on the faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Leave the heat on and make sure it’s set to at least 55°F. Call a plumber to winterize a property that will be left uninhabited through the winter season.

Bonus tip: During any especially cold periods, open the cabinet doors under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow the home’s heat to circulate around the pipes.

If you still have questions about preparing your plumbing for the winter, give us a call and our experts will provide the advice you need.

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