How to prep your pipes for winter
Let’s talk about how to prevent pipes from freezing and then bursting as the temperature rises.
While more energy-efficient construction reduces the chance of frozen pipes in newer homes, there are no guarantees.
• Locate the water lines that are running along exterior walls or in places where cold air may penetrate, and then do something to protect them.
• One way is to insulate the pipes using foam rubber that you can pick up at a hardware store or home center. Make sure you know the diameter of the pipes beforehand, so you don’t waste time and effort. Just slip the insulation over the pipe, peel the backing strips, then seal it by pressing the adhesive surfaces together.
• The nonself-stick variety (which is less expensive), fits around the pipes, and you can close it with duct tape.
• For added protection, slip a half-inch-thick piece of rigid insulation between the pipe and the block basement wall.
• To reduce cold-air intrusion, seal any gaps around the house where cold air may penetrate and come into contact with the piping. In severe cold, especially when it’s wind-driven, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
• Sealing leaks from the outside and from colder areas into warmer ones is, perhaps, the best way to keep your utility costs down.
• A last recommendation is to locate the water-shutoff valve to the house and learn how to drain the pipes. Just be prepared.