It seems like only yesterday we were writing about spring HVAC maintenance, but it’s now time for a few plumbing winterization tips. Here in Cincinnati, the low temperatures average below freezing for at least three months of the year.

Of course, a severe cold snap can happen at any time between fall and spring. Damage caused by winter temperatures can range from a frozen garden hose to a major supply line rupture that inundates your home with hundreds of gallons of water.

Since no one can predict when the winter’s first cold front will roll in, please take time to review plumbing winterization tips.

Before Freezing Weather Strikes

  • Know the location of your main water shutoff valve. Test it to make sure it operates easily. If it’s excessively hard to turn, consult a plumber.
  • Wherever you can access water supply lines (including hot water lines) in or under the house, insulate these pipes with slip-on sleeves of foam plumbing insulation.
  • Disconnect all garden hoses, drain the hoses and store for the winter. Shut off, drain and freeze-proof outdoor faucets. Install insulation kits on any standard faucets.
  • Look for any outside openings where cold, outdoor air can enter a crawl space or exterior wall and contact plumbing pipes. Cover these openings with wood or foam board.
  • If you have an underground sprinkler system, drain the system per manufacturer’s instructions.

During Freezing Temperatures

  • If temperatures drop below 28 degrees, keep the thermostat above 55 degrees, 24 hours a day. Make sure heating vents are open in all rooms. Also, open closet doors and cabinets to allow warm air circulation.
  • Locate faucets in the house furthest from the main water line and open each faucet to allow a continuous trickle of water during frigid overnight temperatures.
  • If you suspect a frozen pipe – very low or no water pressure is a red flag – turn off the main water shutoff valve and call a plumber. Don’t wait for the pipe to thaw to verify that it has ruptured.

For more plumbing winterization tips or other professional service, please contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.