Winters in Michigan can be brutal, especially overnight. If you own your home, you need to prepare it for freezing temperatures. Just one night where temperatures dip into the freezing range is enough to destroy your pipes and leave your home with a watery mess. Before winter officially arrives, take the following four steps to make sure you don't have to endure ruptured water pipes this winter.
1. Start From the Outside
When you winterize your home, you should always start with your outside faucets. Beginning from the outside will ensure that you don't forget about this step, which can happen once you get busy on the inside. To winterize your yard, start at the front and work your way around the house. The key is to end up back at the front. That way, you know that you've protected every water faucet in your yard.
First, remove the hose and drain the water from it. Second, wrap the faucet with insulated foam and secure with duct tape. Third, turn the valve off as tight as it will go. Finally, wind the hose up and put it away for the winter. Repeat this process on all of your exterior faucets.
2. Shut Down Your Sprinkler System
If you have an automatic sprinkler system, you'll need to winterize it, as well. The water that is left in the pipes can freeze, which can cause the pipes to burst. If that happens, you'll be left to care for some costly repairs this winter. Have a plumber come out and shut down your sprinklers for the winter.
They’ll purge the water from the pipes and shut it down for you. With the water purged from your sprinkler system, you won't need to worry about ruptured sprinkler pipes.
3. Check for Hidden Slab Leaks
While you're taking the steps to winterize your home, check for areas of moisture on your concrete slabs. Slab moisture may be a sign of a hidden slab leak. Before you're faced with the first freeze of the winter, schedule a service call to have a plumber come out and inspect your plumbing for signs of underground leaks.
Slab leaks are easier to repair before you are faced with underground ruptures. If you've noticed damp spots on your concrete, alert the professional to those areas. This step will help them locate the problem areas more quickly.
4. Protect Your Home When You're Away
If you will be gone for extended vacations during the winter, protect your home while you're away. You don't want to come home to ruptured water pipes. First, insulate all the interior water pipes inside your home. Second, install heat tape on all the exposed water pipes that are in your attic. Third, check that the attic fans are functional.
Your attic fans will circulate the air and help prevent pipe freeze. Finally, turn your thermostat down to about 50 degrees and leave your heater on whenever you leave. That way, your home stays warm enough to stop the water in your pipes from freezing.
If you plan on an extended vacation, be sure to shut the main water valve off, and then turn an interior faucet on to drain all the residual water from the pipes. This final step will remove any water from the pipes that could pose a threat to your home while you're away.
Don't let winter wreak havoc on your water pipes. Follow the steps provided here to winterize your plumbing. For further tips on how to winterize your home, contact us at Mike's Plumbing today to schedule a preseason service call.