As temperatures drop lower and lower, homeowners have an increasingly smaller window to winterize their indoor and outdoor pipes.
To help you protect your home and prevent winter plumbing problems, we’ll walk you through the steps of proper Boise plumbing winterization.
How to winterize house (indoor) pipes
Many homeowners neglect their indoor plumbing when they prepare for freezing temperatures. But indoor piping is just as vulnerable to freezing as outdoor pipes.
To protect indoor plumbing…
- Open cabinet doors. Open any cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom to allow warm air to reach the water pipes.
- Never set your home’s temperature lower than 55°. If you’re going away for a few days or if you’re just trying to save money on heating bills, don’t go lower than 55° to prevent pipes from freezing over.
- Close crawlspace vents. If your home has crawlspace vents, make sure they are all securely closed before winter. You can even cover the vents with insulation to completely seal any tiny openings.
- Keep your garage door closed. Keep cold air at bay by shutting your garage door at all times—especially if you have a laundry or bathroom next to or above the garage.
- Keep a slow drip at the faucet. On nights when you know the temperature will dip below freezing, open all faucets until there’s a slow drip. This prevents pipes from bursting in the event that they freeze over. You see, pipes burst after freezing because of the pressure that’s created between the ice blockage and the faucet. But keeping the faucet open alleviates that pressure.
- Insulate your indoor pipes. Exposed pipes in colder, unconditioned areas of the home (attic, garage, basement, crawl spaces, exterior walls, etc.) are more likely to freeze in cold temperatures if they aren’t insulated. Most professionals suggest insulating these exposed pipes entirely with foam or fiberglass insulation.
- Make sure your condensate drain line is cleared. During the winter, most furnaces produce condensation during the combustion process. This moisture exits the home via the “condensate drain line” (a white PVC pipe that runs outside). Often, dirt and debris get into this drain line and can create a clog, which could lead to water damage and eventually make your heating system stop working. To prevent those problems, you should have a professional clean and clear the line before colder temperatures arrive.
How to winterize outdoor pipes
Before winter comes, don’t forget to winterize your hoses, yard hydrants, faucets and other outdoor water appliances. These fixtures are in direct contact with ice and freezing temperatures and will become damaged if they aren’t properly winterized.
To protect outdoor plumbing…
- Disconnect hoses from their spigots. You won’t be needing your hoses during winter, so you can disconnect and drain them then pack them away in the garage or somewhere warm. Disconnecting the hose from the bibb will also prevent any ice blockage from building pressure inside the water pipes feeding your hose.
- Turn water off at the shut-off valve for each appliance. Locate each spigot, faucet, etc. and make sure the water is shut off at its water shut off valve (usually located inside the home). Once you find the shut-off valve, turn the valve in the clockwise direction to shut off the water supply. Once the shut-off valve is closed, you should open the spigot to drain any water left in the piping. Note: If you have a frost-proof hose bibb, this entire step isn’t needed.
- Consider hose bibb covers. Hose bibb covers are placed directly over the water appliance spigot and are made of foam to block out the cold and prevent the pipe from freezing.
Need help from a Boise plumber?
Whether you need help preventing frozen pipes or are dealing with the aftermath of a burst pipe, we can help.
Just contact us and we’ll send over a reliable plumber right away.