How to Winterize Your Pipes

Fall has begun, and with winter on its way, it’s time to prepare your home for the cold weather ahead. One of the most important steps to protecting your home from damage caused by cold weather is winterizing your pipes. Any time that your pipes are exposed to freezing air, there is the potential for a pipe fracture and a hefty repair bill. So let’s talk about how you can winterize your pipes.

Insulate All Exposed Piping

To do this, you will need to explore all of the uninsulated parts of your home, such as an attic, crawl space, and outer sidewalls, to find all exposed piping. You can use multiple different forms of insulation to accomplish this, including fiberglass insulation, but the easiest variety to use is tubular sleeve insulation. This is often made from foam or fiberglass tubing. Look for at least an R-4 rating to protect your pipes sufficiently.

No matter what you settle on, though, you will need to clean the pipe itself thoroughly. You can do this with a rag and a mild detergent. Wait for the pipes to dry fully, and then thoroughly wrap them with insulation. Make sure there are no gaps, and then wrap them with duct tape to completely seal the insulation.

Ensure you use suitable tape, which generally means duct tape. Other forms of tape will generally stretch or weaken, ruining the seal. When this happens, you will need to tape over the pipes again, and this is not something you want to have to do in the middle of winter.

For areas of your pipes that have previously frozen or you know will fall below zero, it is a good idea to use heating tape. This is tape that has been embedded with heating elements. All you have to do is wrap it around your pipes and then plug it in. This is highly effective at preventing pipes from freezing, but you will only want to use this in spaces that absolutely need it because this will cost to operate.

Drain Exterior Faucets

You will need to drain your exterior faucets unless you choose to insulate them as well. Find your shut-off valve for every exterior faucet and shut the valve completely. These are often located in the basement. Next, turn the faucet on to drain any water leftover in the system, and feel free to leave it open all winter.

Some exterior faucets do not have shut-off valves, and if you cannot find one ask a plumber to make sure. If you cannot drain an exterior faucet, you will need to insulate them. In this case, hardware stores often sell molded foam covers that are effective and easy to apply.

Apply Caulk To Outdoor Pipes

Find and apply caulk where any outdoor pipes enter your home. There are a number of different varieties of caulk, so it is a good idea to ask a plumber what type is best for your home.

Final Thoughts

Winterizing your pipes is important to protect the integrity of your plumbing and avoid damage to your home and costly repairs. These steps are often easy to do on your own. But, whenever you have doubts, it is always a good idea to contact a plumber for help.

Contact Us

If you need help with winterizing your plumbing, contact LaPointe Construction Board-Up Service. Our professional service can inspect your system, insulate exposed piping, and take all the necessary steps to get your plumbing ready for the cold nights ahead. Call us at (978) 447-5991 and connect with us on Facebook.