Depending on where you live, the cold winter weather may bring snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Even if you live in an area with relatively mild winters, there are still some things you need to do to protect your home from the elements during cold weather. Ensuring that gutters and your roof are ready is important, but you also want to take steps to protect your plumbing. The following covers several things you can do to ensure that you don’t have to deal with frozen pipes and other plumbing issues come winter.

Let Your Faucets Trickle

You would be surprised how just running a trickle of water through your pipes can help prevent them from freezing in harsh winter conditions. Keep in mind that only a small amount of water is needed to do this. With water moving through your pipes, ice cannot form and burst one.

Keep the Heat Flowing

No one likes to live in a cold home, and pipes don’t readily accept chilly temperatures. To help prevent your pipes from freezing, you’ll want to keep your home’s thermostat adjusted to at least 55 degrees. Keep in mind this is equally important even if you go on vacation or are away from your home for long periods of time. The warmer it is in your home, the less chance there is to be surprised by a burst pipe.

A programmable or smart thermostat can be an easy way to keep temperatures steady in your residence. With a connected smart thermostat, you can even control your settings when you’re outside your home. That means if you leave for vacation without double-checking the thermostat you can simply use your phone to adjust it.

Insulate Those Pipes

If your home has pipes in the basement, attic, or crawl space and they are not insulated, you’ll want to make sure they get insulation before the temperature becomes too cold. Pipes that are in chilly areas inside your home need to be adequately wrapped in insulation, pipe sleeves, or electrical heat cables. At Anchor Plumbing Services, we can assist you with locating the pipes that need to be insulated, and we can install whatever type of insulation might be necessary to keep your pipes from bursting. It is easier to have professionals do this type of work because the pipes may be located in hard-to-reach or hard-to-spot areas.

Keep Your Cabinets Open in the Bathrooms and Kitchen

In order for heat to adequately flow through to the bathroom and kitchen pipes, you may need to keep your cabinets open. This allows the heat in the surrounding area to reach the pipes that are located inside the cabinets. Allowing warm air into the cabinets is especially important for those that contain pipes located near outside-facing walls.

Keep Your Crawl Space Free From the Cold

If you have a crawl space instead of a basement or a combined crawl space/basement area, you’ll want to try to cover the outside walls of the crawl space with some type of foam board to help keep the chilly temperatures out. Foam board is relatively inexpensive, and it’s easy to cut to fit walls of all sizes. If you are uncomfortable with this task, however, you can reach out for professional help.

Remove Garden Hoses From Outside

While you are taking steps to protect your indoor plumbing, you also want to take time to ensure that any outdoor pipes and spigots are protected. After all, they are directly exposed to the winter weather. Be sure to detach any hoses from outdoor spigots. If a hose freezes, ice can back up and make its way into your pipes. This can cause the pipe to freeze and burst, leaving you with plumbing repairs and property damage to take care of.

If you want added protection for outdoor plumbing, you may also want to look into purchasing covers for your faucets. You can purchase these at any home improvement store and install them yourself, or you can have a plumber from Anchor Plumbing Services install them.

Keep the Garage Door Closed

Keeping the garage door open in the wintertime can allow frigid air to get inside, and that air can freeze any or all pipes that may be in your garage area. It is best to keep your garage door closed tightly in the wintertime to keep the space warm. If you are in an especially cold area, investing in a garage heater may be a wise decision to protect the plumbing and other property in your garage.

Make Sure Excess Cold Air Isn’t Getting Into Your Home

Many homes have cracks and gaps around windows and doors that can let cold air in and warm air out. Taking steps to seal these areas with caulk and weatherstripping will go a long way toward protecting your plumbing and keeping you more comfortable. Sealing leaks also helps improve your energy efficiency, which can lead to lower monthly utility bills. In addition to checking around windows and doors, you also want to make sure that exposed areas such as your attic are insulated properly.

Make Use of Space Heaters

In some areas where vulnerable pipes are located, it may be necessary to run a space heater to help guard the pipes against freezing. The heater can provide just enough warmth to keep your pipes from freezing. When using space heaters, however, it’s important to never leave them unattended as they can present a fire hazard.

Know Where Your Shut-Off Valves Are

Do you know where your main shut-off valve for your water is? If not, you are not alone. Many people don’t know where to locate this valve or even what it looks like. However, knowing the location of this important device is very important because it can help you reduce property damage in case of a burst pipe or other plumbing emergency.

If your home has a basement, the valve will typically be located there along an outside wall where the municipal water line enters your home. In some cases, it may be located in a crawl space or even outside along your property line. Most mains use ball valves that attach to a lever that may be colored red, green, yellow, or orange. When the lever is in line with your pipe, it is open; if it’s perpendicular to your pipe, it’s closed. Other valves use a gate system with a round dial handle that your turn clockwise to close and counterclockwise to open. If you are having trouble locating your main water shut-off valve, our crew at Anchor Plumbing Services can help.

Your Local Plumbing Professionals

At Anchor Plumbing Services, our team has provided a wide range of plumbing services in San Antonio and the surrounding area for over two decades. While we don’t deal with as many plumbing issues during the winter as other areas do, we can still help ensure that all your pipes and plumbing systems are ready for the weather. Our team repairs pipes and fixtures, and we can help with drain cleaning, sewer lines, toilet repair and replacement, garbage disposals, and water heaters. Interested in water treatment? We can assist you with that as well. Contact us at Anchor Plumbing Services today to set up an appointment.

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