How To Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

Prepare your plumbing for winter

There is never a good time to have a plumbing problem, but having a problem in the winter is especially hard. Drain troubles, frozen pipes, and hot water heater problems all become bigger problems in winter, especially around the holidays and vacation times.  But, there are a few things you can do now to prepare your plumbing for winter.    

Prepare your water line plumbing for winter

Flush your water heater to clean out sediment.  You can do this yourself, if you know how. There is more to it than simply opening the value and draining it.  You have to take proper steps to avoid damage to your water heater. If you are not experienced in this, your plumber can do it for you. This should be done at least twice a year, especially in the Texas Panhandle (because of our hard water). It will prolong the life of your water heater dramatically. The sediment can’t hold heat, so by removing it, your water heater won’t have to work as hard to heat your water. This saves you money on your gas bill and heat your water better.

Servicing a tankless water heater is more complicated than a tank water heater.   It requires a cleaning kit, which you can purchase and do it yourself. But, you can do damage if you do not follow the exact procedure. 

Insulate water pipes in areas subject to cold such as crawl spaces, garage, outside walls, and detached workshop buildings. 

Close crawl space vents, and add insulation to the interior walls of your crawl space.

Seal and insulate drafts near water and drain pipes.   

Go around to each shut-off valve in your house (sinks, toilets, etc.) to make sure you can still turn them off if needed.  They can become stuck open if not operated for a long time.

Show everyone in your home where the main water valve is located and how to turn it off. 

warm water flowing from kitchen sink faucet

Prepare your outside plumbing for winter

Remove hoses from your outside water spigots and use spigot covers or other insulating material.  Even wrapping them with an old towel will help keep the cold out. Drain all of the water out of the hose and store indoors if possible. 

Drain your lawn sprinkler system. You may need a professional to blow out your lines.  

Prepare your gas line plumbing for winter

Have your plumber do a gas line inspection and leak test.  This will help you find problem areas that could be very hazardous or could affect your furnace and water heater efficiency. 

Prepare your sewer line plumbing for winter

Slow drains are more prone to freeze.  Get them cleared before cold weather sets in. 

Fixing sewer problems is much easier now than when the ground freezes.  Schedule a hydrostatic sewer line leak test before cold weather arrives.  https://colesplumbingtx.com/hydrostatic-testing/

Pour RV antifreeze in drains of unheated garages

Prepare your plumbing for winter vacation

In addition to the above, get your furnace serviced to avoid problems while you are gone.

Turn off your water heater.  Shut off your main water supply and open your faucets to drain water out of water lines and drain your water heater.   When you come home, don’t forget to open your hot water faucet to let all the air out of the line and fill your water heater before turning your water heater back on. 

After you have turned your main water valve off, turn your washing machine on to the warm fill position to let the pressure off of your washing machine hoses.  Then close the valves for your washer hoses. Check your washer hoses for weak areas.  

If you are not on city supplied natural gas, make sure you have plenty of fuel in your LP gas tank and have the pressure valve checked for proper operation.    

Unplug all appliances from wall receptacles. 

Show the person checking on your home for you how to turn off the main water supply.
(In case you forgot to turn it off.).

frozen pipe repair service

Prepare your plumbing for winter cold snaps

Here are a few things you can do to help prevent problems in the event of a real cold snap:

Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to more room heat. 

Open faucets to a small stream or fast drip for pipes on outside walls or areas that tend to get cold.

Don’t lower your furnace temperature at night.  Typically, you would lower your temperature at night to save money.  But, during a cold snap, it’s worth maintaining the temperature so that your crawl space and outside walls stay warmer.With nearly two decades of experience, Cole’s Plumbing is professionally qualified to inspect, service, and repair your home or business water, sewer, and gas plumbing. We have the right equipment, tools, and experience to do the job right – at an affordable price. Call us at (806) 367-5159 to discuss how we can help you prepare your plumbing for winter.