How to Winterize My Pipes

Performing regular maintenance on your pipes is essential to prevent leaks and breaks, and it is more important during winter. The frigid weather can cause damage to the pipes if they are not winterized properly. Neglecting the pipes ‌this time of year can be costly, as the damage can be massive. Aside from depriving the household of water supply, frozen pipes can burst and flood your house with gallons of water in a matter of a few minutes. That’s why it is recommended to winterize your pipes, especially in West Michigan, where winter can be harsh.

Insulate the Pipes

Insulating your pipes will ensure they stay functional no matter how cold outside. You can find foam sleeves in any hardware store nearby that can be wrapped around the pipe without disconnecting it. Get enough foam sleeves to cover any uninsulated pipes inside the house, like in the attic, garage, crawl space, or out of the house. You can even use newspaper to insulate some pipes if you ever go out of foam sleeves. Pay more attention to uninsulated and exterior pipes as they are the ones more vulnerable to freezing.

Seal Air Leaks

Pipes inside the house are less vulnerable to freezing in winter as compared to the exterior ones. But it can all change if there are any exterior cracks or openings around your house. You should seal or close any cracks, crawl space vents, and access doors while covering other openings like gaps around access points. Use caulking to fill cracks along the intersection between exterior walls and the foundation sill. If the openings are too large for caulking, use expanding foam insulation. Look around your house, check every opening, and seal them to ensure that your pipes won’t freeze this winter.

Disconnect and Drain Outdoor Water Sources

Frozen outdoor sources can impact and cause damage to indoor plumbing. Keep these sources in good shape to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting. Disconnect the water valve that feeds any outdoor source, such as outdoor faucets or sprinklers. If you have underground sprinklers, drain the remaining water from its pipes or blow it out with compressed air. Open the outdoor faucets to drain out residual water. Drain the garden hose from water and store it away. Make sure all outdoor water sources are disconnected and drained.

Other Plumbing Winterization Tips

It is well known that moving water can’t be frozen, so it might be a good idea to keep a faucet dripping to let water flow through the pipes. You will waste a little water, but it keeps your pipes intact and prevents losing hundreds of gallons of water. You can collect the dripping water in a container and use it for any other purpose around the house. Don’t turn off your thermostat but keep it at a low temperature enough to keep your pipes from freezing damage.

If you will not be at home for a long time, turn off the main water valve and drain all water out of the pipes by opening all the faucets. However, you might need professional help to know which faucets to open to make sure all water is drained. Finally, clean the gutters to allow water to flow and prevent ice dams that can cause damage to the house exterior.

Winterizing your pipes is a demanding task, and if you’re not sure that you can do it, Call Sunrise Heating & Plumbing at 616-293-9326 to help you with plumbing winterization. Taking precautionary measures will save you thousands of dollars as burst frozen pipes can cause catastrophic damage to your house, whether it’s walls, floors, plumbing, or personal possessions.