Do you live in a location where temperatures dip below freezing? Are you ready for the Winter season? It’s important to prepare your home and your water system for winter weather. You don’t want to find yourself unprepared and potentially facing thousands of dollars in emergency pipe repairs. Even if you live in a more temperate region, like the Central Valley towns of Modesto, Fresno, Stockton or Tracy, California, there are important steps to take to prepare for winter weather. Read on to learn some easy steps you can take to be prepared for winter, and remember – if you need an expert’s guidance, you can always call the experienced plumbers at Plumbers 911!
Wintertime brings colder weather and cooler temperatures, which can cause problems for your home’s plumbing, especially the pipes in your water system. Cold weather conditions can cause freezing pipes, which can break, resulting in expensive repairs. Frozen pipes do not break due to ice forming around the outside of the pipe, but rather due to water freezing inside the pipe. In freezing weather, the water inside the pipes expands, causing the water pressure to increase downstream between the faucet at the top and the ice blockage down below. The increase in water pressure is what causes pipe breakage. In general, pipes start freezing at 20°F.
Tips to Prepare Your Plumbing for the Winter Season:
- Locate your Shut-off Valve: It’s important to know the location of your home’s water shut-off valve because if a pipe breaks, you want to immediately know where to shut off the water. Often, the shut-off valve is installed in the crawl space or basement, or on an outside wall in a utility area of the house.
- Insulate Vulnerable Water Pipes: Pipes inside unheated basements, near windows, and attached to exterior walls are the ones that will quickly freeze at the first sign of freezing temperatures. Proactively wrapping these vulnerable pipes with insulation can help you avoid a costly frozen burst pipe.
- Drain Water Sprinklers and Hoses: Drain all water sprinklers and hoses, and also disconnect them from outdoor faucets, before the first freezing temperatures hit your region. Turn off outdoor faucets and disconnect the hoses to ensure that they are fully drained. If your house has a water valve for the outdoor water supply, turn it off and totally drain the pipes and hoses, because any amount of freezing water can damage the pipes.
- Locate your Curb Stop Valve: Knowing where your home’s curb, or streetside, shut-off valve is located is also important; if a plumbing emergency occurs, you’ll be able to easily guide the plumbers to the shut-off valve. This valve is located at the beginning of your water main, at the boundary line of your property and the street or sidewalk. Look for a ground-level metal or plastic utility box trap door.
A Few More Tips to Get Through the Winter Season:
- Keep it Flowing: To avoid water freezing inside your pipes, keep one or two faucets slightly open. Keeping a faucet or two open greatly reduces the chance of freezing water inside pipes. Make sure that the water doesn’t go to waste by collecting this water to reuse for other household purposes.
- Keep it Shut: Keeping doors tightly shut through the winter will help prevent damage due to cold weather. Most importantly, keep garage doors tightly closed to minimize the freezing air from coming in and damaging vulnerable pipes. On the flipside, keeping cabinet doors open that lead to pipes such as those under sinks can keep them warm from the heater inside homes.
Even if you live in the Central Valley and the weather in your area doesn’t typically reach freezing temperatures, it is important to be prepared for the cold weather. You don’t want to be caught under-prepared! Follow these tips to help prepare your home and your water system for the winter season. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to call Plumbers 911! If you are in Modesto, Fresno, Stockton or Tracy, or any other Central Valley town, our licensed and experienced plumbers are available to you and can respond to your plumbing emergency in as little as an hour. Prepare your plumbing for the winter season – call Plumbers 911 today!