How To Prepare Your Plumbing For Winter

Frigid temperatures are making their way into town and they’re not going away any time soon. That’s not shocking for most homeowners living in Illinois, but coming home to a frozen or burst pipe and water all over the house would likely be quite the surprise. So, is your home’s plumbing system ready to take on winter? Find out what you should be doing to prepare, below:

Why Do Pipes Freeze In The Winter?

In states like Illinois where temperatures drop considerably in the winter months, water freezes and expands in the pipes and that water, or ice, needs somewhere to go. This builds extreme pressure on the inside of the pipe until the pipe bursts, often at a weak point such as a fitting or joint. Pipes that are not insulated and located in unheated attics, garages, or near exterior walls are most likely to freeze and rupture. Sounds like a disaster, right?

How to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter:
  • Shut down outdoor faucets - Have outdoor sinks or garden hoses on your property? They can certainly come in handy during the warmer months of the year, but when temperatures drop, it’s time to shut them down. Make sure you turn off outdoor faucets at the shutoff valve and then open the faucet and the bleeder cap to get rid of any stagnant water in the line. If water continues to run through that pipe, or through the bleeder cap, it means your shutoff valve is not working properly and it needs to be replaced to avoid a freeze-up during the winter.
  • Protect hose bibs - Hose bibs are in fact, quite delicate so you may want to consider covering them for the winter. We recommend insulated covers that slow heat loss and offer protection from the elements at the same time.
  • Insulate pipes - Have pipes running along uninsulated walls or ceilings or pipes that are located in the garage or basement? It’s vital to insulate them before temperatures dip below freezing. There are a number of types of pipe insulation ranging from fiberglass to foam, and no matter which route you choose to take, pipe insulation is relatively inexpensive.
  • Insulate walls & ceilings - Pay special attention to areas of the house that are susceptible to colder temperatures (think exterior walls and ceilings). If there is no insulation in these areas already, be sure to add a nice, thick layer. If you already have insulation in these areas, but it still tends to feel cold, you may want to consider beefing up the insulation or ripping the old stuff out and starting from scratch. Trust us when we tell you proper insulation is key when it comes to avoiding plumbing issues during the winter.
  • Schedule maintenance - When was the last time you had your water heater and/or furnace serviced? Contrary to popular belief, these pieces of equipment should be tuned-up every single year in order to make sure they’re in good working order. After all, the water heater and the furnace are what’s going to keep you and your family warm when you need it most.

What Do I Do If My Pipes Burst?

Pipes that burst often have considerable damage and must be replaced. Trained plumbers from Prestige Plumbing Heating Cooling measure the amount of pipe that needs to be replaced and determine the pipe material. All necessary tools, equipment, and materials are available to the plumber in the truck driven to the emergency site. The plumber will secure the perfectly-fit, new piping to the undamaged area and test the entire water system before leaving the premises.

Homeowners know that plumbing emergencies may occur even with careful maintenance. When a pipe does burst, act immediately to reduce water damage to the property and call Prestige Plumbing, Heating & Cooling at (630) 557-1517 right away or contact us online to schedule a service!