Like the other three seasons, fall has its very own checklist of tasks to do around the house and yard. Seasonal checklists help homeowners to be prepared for the expected (and unexpected) weather of the upcoming months. It’s the circle of home ownership. Plan ahead and be prepared for the next season.
With the arrival of fall, some of your tasks may include storing gardening and lawn equipment for the winter. Maybe you’re taking a vacation this winter to make up for trips you missed this past year or two. Maybe you need to winterize or re-winterize your home’s pipes, and you are looking for an easy-to-follow guide. You’re in luck because you are on the right blog page! Keep reading for tips on winterizing the vulnerable pipes around your home. After all, if you want happy pipes this winter, winterize them!
1. WINTERIZE THE OUTDOOR HOSES AND FAUCETS
You don’t want your garden hoses getting damaged during the winter cold. Freezing water inside hoses can split them open. Disconnect the outdoor hoses and store them in your garage or in another place where they won’t get damaged.
Next, winterize the outdoor faucets by, firstly, turning off the water shutoff valves to them. To drain any water in the outdoor faucet pipes, turn on each faucet and then turn the bleeder cap at the shutoff valve. The bleeder cap resembles a small knob, which is located on the side of the pipe. Opening the bleeder cap allows water in the pipe to run out of the faucet or run through the bleeder hole. If the water isn’t drained from the pipe, it could freeze this winter and possibly break the pipe.
2. INSULATE PIPES VULNERABLE TO FREEZING
Practically every home in Minnesota has pipes that are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Pipes are susceptible to freezing and then bursting when the water inside the pipes freezes. Water expands in size as it freezes into ice. Pressure inside the pipe increases and may burst the pipe.
One of the popular ways to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting is wrapping them with pipe insulation. Vulnerable pipes are located in the unconditioned spaces around your home. Look for pipes in crawl spaces, your attic, the basement, outbuildings, and your garage. Wrap the pipes in these locations with pipe insulation.
3. CONSIDER ADDING HEAT CABLES
You’re on board with insulating pipes vulnerable to freezing. Why not use heat cables for guaranteed protection? The truth is, pipe insulation wrap doesn’t do enough to protect the most vulnerable pipes. Adding heat cables (also called heat tape and heat trace interchangeably) to pipes and then wrapping pipe insulation around them is the best solution to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
4. WRAP HOT WATER SUPPLY LINES
While you are insulating outdoor pipes to prevent freezing and bursting, go ahead and wrap pipe insulation around all indoor hot water supply lines located under sinks. Insulating hot water lines will provide hot water to the faucet faster, which saves time, hot water, and money!
5. SHUT OFF THE WATER MAIN IF GOING OUT OF TOWN
If you plan on flying south for the winter or even if you’ll be away from home more than a few days, turn off the water main shutoff valve. By shutting off the water main, if a pipe does freeze and burst, there will be minimal water damage inside your home. By the way, turn off the ice maker on the refrigerator as well to prevent the ice maker from continually trying to make ice!
For assistance winterizing your home’s pipes this fall, contact MN Plumbing and Home Services through our online contact form or simply call us at (952) 469-8341. We’d love to hear from you!