Tis the Season to Prepare Your Pipes for Winter

‘Tis the Season to Prepare Your Pipes for Winter

cartoon plumbing pipe dressed up as santa and holding two candy canes

“Tis the Season to Be Jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la”. We all know the song. It’s fun and a sign of the holiday season. But you won’t be so jolly if you have plumbing problems during the holidays.

Between meal planning, travel (if any), family gatherings, gift shopping, eating too much (we all do it), possible bad weather, etc., the last thing you need is to deal with a plumbing emergency like a burst pipe, frozen pipes, and so on. 

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

During the holidays, your waistline isn’t the only thing expanding. The ice that’s forming in your cold, uninsulated pipes is expanding, too. And pipes are nowhere near as flexible as the elastic in the waist of your pants. All it takes is some ice in a frozen pipe to ruin your holiday celebrations. Read on for some tips to prevent frozen pipes and ruined holidays, or simply reach out to our West Milford plumbers!

1) Insulate Your Pipes

This is easy and inexpensive. It’s a DIY project. By insulating your pipes, you can prevent freezing and save you a little money. The insulation will not only keep your pipes warm but will also retain the heat in your hot water, allowing your hot water heater to work more efficiently. 

2) Use Heat Cables

These are great for pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. They have a thermostat that reads the pipe temperature and activates the heat to keep the pipe from freezing. You will need an outlet nearby to plug in the cable.

3) Shut Off Your Outdoor Faucets

Turn off your outdoor faucets at the shutoff valve. Open the faucet and then open the bleeder cap on the shutoff valve to drain any remaining water. Leave the bleeder cap open with a bucket underneath to catch any remaining water. If it continues to drip, you need to replace the shutoff valve.

4) Seal Rim Joists

Your rim joists are a likely area for cold air intrusion. The best way to do this is to seal any cracks, holes, or gaps with expandable foam. This isn’t really a DIY job. It’s best to have it professionally done. A professional can assess where the foam is needed and if there is any other work that may need to be done. Contact your HVAC provider for further details.

5) Shut Off Your Water Before Going on Vacation

If you’re going to be away for more than a few days, shut your water off at the main. This will help minimize any damage if a pipe does break. Also shut off the ice maker in your fridge. Even if the bin is full, the ice will eventually evaporate, and the ice make will try to make more. If you don’t shut it off, you run the risk of burning out the motor.

6) Insulate Your Garage Door

If you have waterlines in your garage, you should insulate your garage door and possibly your entire garage. Consider using insulation and heat cables. Use a portable heater if it gets really cold. If it’s possible, and you can afford it, consider having heat and air conditioning installed in your garage.

7) Leave Faucets Running

If you have a major cold snap, leave your faucets open a bit. This will relieve the water pressure and prevent a frozen pipe from breaking. A slow trickle will do the job. Don’t do this for any sink that’s on an outside wall. The drain can freeze and break. 

8) Disconnect Your Hoses

If you leave your garden hoses outside, they can freeze, and the ice can back up into your faucet and cause damage. It’ll damage your hoses, too. Disconnect them, drain them, and store them for the winter.

9) Open Kitchen Cabinet Doors

During a cold snap, open the doors on your kitchen cabinets to allow warm air to reach the pipes. If necessary, use a fan or small space heater to keep them warm.

Frozen Pipe Help is Here!

For more information about preventing your pipes from freezing, call us at Mark Lindsay & Son, and we’ll be happy to work with you to make sure your pipes are protected from freezing. We can show you how to do it yourself, or we can set up an appointment to come in and prepare your pipes. Contact us today! 

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