Preparing for Winter Weather: Water Edition
It’s that time of year again when the leaves are changing, the nights are getting colder, and winter preparations must begin! While writing a to-do list to ensure your household’s adequately prepped, do not forget about one of the most essential needs for you and your home – WATER!
Your house not only needs water to function, but so do you! Here’s a quick run-through of what you should do in order to prepare for winter weather.
Avoid Broken Pipes
Pipes can freeze when the temperatures are around 20 degrees, depending on the pipe’s exposure to wind and other elements. In the interior of your home, if the lines are near cracks or openings that allow cold air to come in, they may develop ice blockages, even if they are in a heated space.
The burst in the pipes occurs because water will begin to freeze at the lowered temperatures, and when there is no water flowing through the pipe from use, the water sits there, making it easier for the water to freeze inside the pipe. Freezing leads the pipes to burst, which can lead to a host of other plumbing issues.
You are one of the lucky ones if you have never experienced broken water pipes during the winter season. Nobody wants to add “fixing water pipes” to their to-do list or their budget. It can be costly, so here are a few steps to keep your plumbing in check in order to avoid broken pipes.
Tips to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter
- Shut Off the Outside Faucets
Open the faucet, and then open the bleeder cap on the shutoff valve to drain any water out of the pipe. The pipe can still freeze and crack if you don’t drain it, leaving the bleeder cap open with a bucket underneath to catch any water from dripping. The shutoff valve needs to be replaced if the dripping continues.
- Install Frost-free Sillcocks
A frost-free sillcock is comprised of a valve, seat, and wash located up to 18 inches inside the wall. When the sillcock is installed, water drains from the pipe every time you turn off the knob at the faucet. Pricing can range from $15 to $55.
- Disconnect the Hoses
If the hose is full of water and left outside in the cold, it will freeze. If your hose is connected to the faucet, ice can get backed up into the pipe, which leads into your home or office.
- Cover Hose Bibs
The insulated covers can slow the heat lost from a pipe when it travels through the wall outside in the cold. You can purchase them as low as $3. Get them early because they can run out when you need them the most!
- Seal Around Rim Joists
Cold air can come inside your home or office through the rim joist due to cracks or holes- Be sure to seal this area with expandable foam and then insulate between the floor joists. Tip: do not insulate a pipe from the heat in the rest of the house.
- Shut off Water when Traveling
Before you leave for vacation, be sure to turn the water off at the main shutoff. Why? If the frozen pipes do crack, you will have less damage. Also, shut off your automatic ice maker so it doesn’t continually try to make ice
- Insulate Your Pipes
Where can pipe be in an unheated area? A crawl space, attic, or garage. How can you insulate this area? Use heat cable and cover it with pipe insulation. Various types of pipe insulation are available from the store for about $2 to $6.
- Keep Temperature Steady and Open Kitchen Cabinets
Leave your thermostat steady, and you might want to bump it up just a few degrees. During a winter freeze, be sure to open your kitchen cabinets to allow the temperature from the heater to flow through all parts of your home or office.
You might even want to invest in a portable heater to keep around your sink cabinets. Speaking of sinks, trickling faucets (inside) acts as the relief valve to prevent frozen pipes from occurring.
Have Plenty of Water on Hand
While we certainly hope the information provided above helps you avoid your own pipes freezing, there’s not much you can do if the city’s pipes were to freeze or break.
If your pipes were to freeze or another similar situation occurred, do you have an adequate supply of water on hand to keep yourself and your family adequately hydrated? We previously wrote about preparing an emergency water supply during hurricane season, but the information comes in handy in order to be adequately prepared for blustery weather conditions, as well. Here are a few ways in which you can avoid those last-minute runs to the store for water.
Bottled Water Delivery
No matter how you want it, we’ve got it! Here are your options when it comes to water delivered to your doorstep:
- Artesian spring water delivered in 3- or 5-gallon, 100% reusable, BPA-free bottles
- 12oz or 16.9oz single-serve bottles of water in 24 packs
- Six 1-gallon jugs of water
We all know the south tends to shut down even if a snow in the forecast ends up being a dud, and the stores will no doubt be clear of bottled water, so just let us do the heavy lifting and running around for you.