Simple Steps to Protect Pipes from Freezing

Simple Steps to Protect Pipes from Freezing. Preventing frozen pipes is much less expensive than the cure.

Here's a cold-weather checklist to keep your pipes from freezing this winter:

  • Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected during freezing temperatures, water in hoses will freeze and expand causing connection faucets and pipes to freeze and break.
  • Inspect outside faucets.  If dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before a hard freeze.
  • Note that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds causing cracks, no matter if the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel.  Even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of flood-water in a single day.
  • If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from lines.
  • Cover outside faucets using a faucet insulation kit.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas.  It's a lot easier to do this on a pleasant day than when cold winds are blowing.  Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around exposed pipes.
  • Your water heater works harder during winter months.  Drain sediment from the tank, which causes corrosion and reduces efficiency.
  • Set water heater thermostat to 120 degrees for optimum performance while reducing the risk of scalding.
  • Clear leaves and debris from roof gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage throughout the winter season.  You may have to do this again until the leaves are off of the surrounding trees.
  • Inspect and clean basement sump pit.  Remove any rocks and debris from the pit then dump a bucket of water into the pit to test the sump pump.  If it turns on, empties the pit quickly then turns itself off, it is operating properly.
  • Make sure the furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing.

Source:  Newport News Daily Press

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