PREVENTING FROZEN PIPES Preventing frozen pipes is much easier than dealing with them after the fact. It’s a good idea to take some of these steps every fall to prepare your pipes for the cold season ahead:
• If you leave for the winter, turn off the main shut-off valve to your water supply and drain your faucets (some homes with basements have separate shut-off valves for each outdoor faucet, in addition to the home’s main supply valve). • Disconnect all garden hoses and wrap all outdoor faucets with rags, newspaper or insulating material. Cover the wrap with plastic or other material to keep moisture/rain from getting inside. • Cover foundation vent holes to keep your crawl space warmer (remember to uncover these vents when the winter freeze is over). • Insulate any exposed pipe. Use heat tape if necessary.
You can take other preventative steps once cold weather begins: • During freezing spells, keep a trickle of water running from your indoor faucets to prevent the pipes from freezing. A small trickle of water will cost you a few extra cents a day and save you the huge cost of repairing frozen pipes and dealing with water damage. You should also keep cabinet doors below sinks open so that the warm interior air can get to your pipes and drains. • If you’re leaving home for a few days, keep your heating system turned on and set to a low temperature so that some heat is available to keep pipes from freezing.