The time has come for us all to face the facts: winter is coming. With the first day of the season right around the corner, this is an excellent time to prepare your home for the coldest months of the year.
The biggest threats to your home during winter come from water. Water expands as it freezes, which puts tremendous pressure on metal or plastic pipes. Expanding pipes, such as those that are exposed to severe cold and your home’s exterior, and in unheated areas like basements, crawl spaces, garages and kitchen cabinets are most susceptible to breaking under pressure.
Here are a few tips for winterizing your home this month and preparing for the freezing temperatures ahead:
- Insulate any exposed exterior plumbing pipes and hose bibs. Pick up a nice cover from the local hardware store. Alternatively, you can use duct tape, newspaper or paper bags work for a temporary fix. Duct tape is good for just about any kind of wrapping job. I even use it to wrap my wife’s presents!
- Keep the outside valve open so that any remaining water in the pipe can expand without breaking the pipe.
- Drip the hot and cold faucets. When temperatures dip below freezing, allowing water to trickle through exposed pipes will help prevent the pipes from freezing.
- Open cabinets under your sinks so the warm air from the house can help keep the pipes warm enough to prevent freezing. If you have pets or small children, be sure to remove harmful chemicals before leaving the doors open.