Winter is coming up fast, but you don’t have to dread the cold weather. Try these easy tips to prevent water main breaks in winter instead of worrying about your water heater breaking or pipes bursting.
Keep your water pipes from freezing by wrapping them in insulation
Insulating the pipes helps keep the water below freezing. If the water is liquid, it is much harder for ice to form and break the line.
Make sure you insulate all exposed pipes, especially those leading outdoors from your house. Insulate hot water tanks if they’re located outside your home or inside an unheated area such as a garage. To get the best results, use preformed foam insulation or a pipe sleeve.
Ensure your water heater is set to the right temperature settings
If you have a tank-style water heater, the thermostat should be between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit. It helps keep the water from freezing during a cold spell. Also, insulate any exposed parts of your water heater to keep in the heat. Additionally, an uninsulated water heater would draw up more energy to keep the water warm.
Keep an eye on your outside faucets
Make sure your outside faucets are not dripping or leaking. A slow drip can cause a lot of damage over time, especially when it’s freezing. Even if you shut off the water supply, that doesn’t mean the water is gone. It can still freeze and expand, which can crack pipes or fittings. The outside temperature may drop at any time, and this might be an unpleasant surprise when faucets outside the house freeze.
Water expands when it freezes, and this creates pressure on the pipes. The pressure can damage the pipes and water main, leading to expensive repair costs. Coating a manhole helps prevent damage to sewer lines, but water mains do not have the extra protection against the cold weather and environment.
If you are going to be away from home for a while, turn off the outside faucets
When you’re on vacation or need to leave your house unattended for an extended period, make sure to shut off any outside faucets. You also want to drain the water from the pipes, especially if you’re away during the winter months. You can install a valve to shut off the water flow to the outside faucets. If you don’t want to install a shutoff valve, turn on all faucets inside the house and open up any outside taps. Doing so will drain the water from the pipes and prevent them from freezing when temperatures drop.
Keep an eye on your home’s main shut off valve
If the main shutoff valve is located under a concrete floor or outside your home, make sure it is covered with insulation. It keeps the water in the pipe from freezing. If you don’t have insulation, it may be best to drain the water to not freeze and expand inside the lines. You should store much-needed water in tanks before you shut off the water valve.
Don’t open your faucets if there’s a chance they could freeze
If you see your faucets start to drip or leak, shut them off right away. If the faucet is frozen, turning it on can cause a pipe to break under pressure. It’s better to wait until the temperature rises and thaws out the ice before using your faucets again.
Consider installing a water alarm
If you’re very concerned about winter main breaks, consider purchasing a water alarm. This device detects moisture in your home’s walls or flooring that could lead to a break or leak. It’s an excellent way for you to keep tabs on the water system in your house, which can help prevent damage if something goes wrong during the winter months.
Unfreeze frozen pipes
If your pipes freeze during the winter, it’s important to thaw them out right away. Never try to heat the line with an open flame, as this can start a fire. Instead, use an electric heating device or hairdryer.
If your pipes burst, shut off the water right away
Leaking or burst pipes can quickly cause a lot of damage to both your home and anything nearby. To prevent this from happening, turn off the main shutoff valve as soon as you see a leak. It contains even more water from flowing into the pipe that could cause damage.
Always call a professional if you need help with winter pipe maintenance
If you have any questions or concerns about preventing main winter breaks, contact a water treatment professional. They can provide advice on what you should do and walk you through the process of maintaining your home’s water system throughout the year.