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How to Prepare Your Pipes for Winter

Icicles hanging from a brown pipe. Frozen water and metal surface, winter time concept. selective focus shallow depth of field photoTemperatures are still pretty nice for now, and don’t usually drop below the point of freezing, but it does happen! And when it does, you don’t want to be surprised by frozen pipes. If you’ve been putting off any winter preparation for your household until it gets closer to winter, we urge you to reconsider. The earlier you prepare for this potential issue, the less likely it is that you’ll need an emergency plumber in Chapel Hill, NC  (although, we’ll be there for you if you do!)

If you’re like the average homeowners, your plumbing system really probably isn’t something you give a whole lot of thought to. This is particularly true for plumbing problems, like the aforementioned frozen pipes. Even just a couple days of below 30° temperatures though, and you can not only have frozen pipes, but subsequent burst pipes. So what can you do?

Start With Your Outdoor Faucets

Avoiding frozen and burst pipes is absolutely doable. It starts with preparing your outdoor plumbing. As soon as temperatures are low enough that you won’t really be needing your sprinkler system or hoses any more for the season, go ahead and turn the water flow off to these areas. Let the water drain from the faucets completely, and then keep them open. These are, after all, the pipes most susceptible to freezing.

You might even consider investing in some affordable insulated caps to put on your faucet and hose openings for added protection. Speaking of hoses, make sure you disconnect those, too. Let them drain, and if possible, store them indoors or at least in a garage where they won’t be too exposed to the cold.

Time to Insulate Your Pipes

Next, it’s time to insulate your pipes. There are various pipes throughout your plumbing system that can be prone to freezing when temperatures dip low enough. Some of them, however, you’ll need to still use no matter what time of the year it is. This means they’re attached to faucets that you can’t simply drain and shut off for the season—such as your bathroom and kitchen sinks and pipes in your basement area that might be attached to important appliances like your washing machine or dishwasher.

To protect this section of plumbing, it’s a good idea to get some pipe insulating sleeves, which you’ll be able to find at just about any hardware store in the area. This helps to keep the temperature of the water in your pipes from dropping too low. These are usually inexpensive, however, if you’d like to save even more money you can achieve this by using towels.

Keep the Cabinets in Your Home Ajar

Most homes in the area don’t have exposed plumbing in their bathroom or sink areas. That means these pipes run under the sink behind cabinets, or behind walls. Those walls typically lead outdoors, making these pipes sensitive to freezing as well, even though they are seemingly safe indoors. Leaving your cabinets open a bit enables the warmth from your heating system to reach them, making the pipes less likely to freeze.

Don’t Attempt to Thaw Frozen Pipes

The problem with this is that as they thaw, the pressure builds and can lead to burst pipes. This means not only are you dealing with water damage and broken pipes, but you could even injure yourself. Whether you suspect or discover frozen pipes in your home or on your property, the best thing you can do is contact our team!

At One Call Plumbing, we are “Blending Technology with Traditional Values.” Contact us today for exceptional plumbing services.

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