Your pipes are more susceptible to freeze damage when temperatures drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Fall is the time to start thinking about winterizing your pipes, particularly any outdoor plumbing you may have or even up at cottages you won’t be visiting this coming season. Wisconsin winter will be here before we know it! Below are Turek’s recommended steps for winterizing your plumbing system.
- Locate the main water supply & be sure shut of valves are located and turned off
- Turn off all electric and gas supplies to water heater or heaters, and other water supplied appliances
- After purging all water distribution lines apply anti-freeze to all fixture drain traps toilet bowls and toilet tanks.
- Insulate the pipes in all unheated areas, as they are most likely to freeze. Wrap the pipes in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass.
- On nights when the temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, be sure to turn on faucets along the exterior walls to create a small, steady drip. What this does is eliminates pressure that can build between the faucet and an ice blockage, so even if a pipe freezes, it may not burst.
- Open all sink-base cabinet doors along exterior walls, this allows more heat to reach the pipes.
- Take a look at cracks or holes along the outside walls and foundation of your home. Try filling those holes and cracks with spray foam insulation or caulking. This can help stop the cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes during extremely cold weather.
- Pier and beam homes with ventilated crawl spaces should be sealed against the cold weather. Cover your vents with heavy-duty pieces of cardboard cut to fit the vents and then duct tape the cardboard in place. Remember to seal off access to the crawl space. If you have a basement, check for cracked basement windows that might allow cold air to make contact with your pipes. Look for worn or missing insulation around garage and utility doors. Reducing the amount of cold air in the area minimizes your pipes’ vulnerability.