Seasonal plumbing maintenance takes on greater importance when the season is winter. Frigid weather can be particularly hard on pipes and the consequences of neglecting plumbing maintenance at this time of year can be particularly costly. Frozen pipes not only deprive the household of water supply until they thaw, a pipe that ruptures due to freezing can discharge hundreds of gallons into your home in a very short time, inflicting catastrophic water damage.

Winterizing your household plumbing is a task that’s much better done now—before the forecast mentions a severe cold spell. Here are three seasonal plumbing maintenance items.

  • Insulate pipes. Buy foam pipe insulation sleeves that can be slipped over pipes without disconnecting the pipe. Place them on all spans of water supply lines that are accessible: inside the house, down in the crawl space or up in the attic, or out in the garage.
  • Seal air leaks. Exterior openings in the home’s envelope should be closed to prevent frigid outside air from contacting indoor pipes. This means sealing up crawl space vents and/or access doors and plugging or covering other openings such as gaps around access points where plumbing pipes and electrical conduits enter the house. Check along the intersection between exterior walls for cracks and use caulking to fill them—also along the long joint between the exterior wall and the foundation sill. To close openings too large for caulking, use expanding spray foam insulation in a can.
  • Drain and disconnect exterior components. Freezing that occurs in outside sources can damage interior plumbing. Disconnect garden hoses from exterior faucets, drain the water out and store them. Turn off the water valve to underground sprinklers and drain residual water from the pipes or blow it out with compressed air. If your outdoor faucets are frost-proof with dedicated indoor shut-off valves, now’s the time to shut the valves and open the faucet to drain out remaining water.

Ask the professionals at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Plumbing for more winterizing tips to prepare for cold weather.