Unpredictable cold nights are almost here! Preparing your outdoor New Westminster Plumbing in the fall can help avoid plumbing problems associated with winter. Much better to deal with “winterizing” your home’s plumbing before a problem occurs! Shortly after the kids return to school, schedule a weekend for the family to help:
- Outside water hoses – disconnect and drain water from all outdoor hoses. Left connected to outdoor hose bibs, the water in a hose will freeze and can cause the valves and connecting pipes to break fro expanding ice. Draining the hoses will keep them from becoming brittle from ice.
- Outdoor faucets – inspect all outdoor hose bibs for leaks, repair/replace as necessary to avoid freezing valves and connecting pipes.
- Interior shut-off valves – if your hose bibs have a shut-off valve inside, turn the valve off and drain the lines to prevent freezing.
- Insulate – exterior hose bibs (faucets) with styrofoam insulation kits (available at home centers or plumbing supply stores)
- More Insulation – insulate or use heat-tracing on all pipes in unheated spaces (garage, crawl space, etc.) to eliminate freezing potential
- Seal leaks – reduce cold air migration into living spaces by sealing any leaks around doors or windows
- Water heater – because ambient temperatures are lower in winter, your water heater must work harder to maintain the set temperature. To assure optimal operation, service the storage tank before winter. This should include draining about 1/3 of the water volume from the tank using the bottom spigot connected to a hose. Alternatively, New Westminster Plumbing can perform a full service on your hot water heater.
- PRV testing – to assure safety, have a professional inspect/test the pressure relief valve (PRV) on your water heater for proper operation, repairing/replacing as indicated.
- Temperature Setting – a standard water heater’s optimum temperature operation is 120° F. Check that the thermostat on the water heater does not exceed 120° F.
- Sump Pump – inspect and clean sump pump pit and pump. Note: sump pumps exposed to extreme cold will freeze and not operate.
- Gutters & downspouts – have all leaves and miscellaneous debris cleaned from gutters and downspouts to assure that as ice melts, it can drain properly.
- Vacation – when leaving your home for extended periods, it is strongly advised that you turn off the main water valve to the house. To completely drain the system, open all faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Be certain that the heat is operating and set to no lower than 55°F during your absence.
For summer homes that will not be inhabited during the winter months, there are additional precautions that must be taken to winterize the home. It is strongly advised that you seek professional help from New Westminster Plumbing to properly winterize a home that will not be occupied for extended periods of time.