Preparing Your Plumbing For The Winter

September 15, 2021

Regardless of the outdoor temperature, there are steps you can take to ensure your plumbing is protected

Winter brings us numerous smells and sounds: spiced cider with cinnamon and cloves, the smokiness and warmth of a roaring fire in the fireplace, melting snow and water drops refreezing, and at times, the crack of a broken water pipe. Winter can be tough on pipes, especially if the temperature dips below freezing for an extended period of time. Regardless of the outdoor temperature, there are steps you can take to ensure your plumbing (and thus, your home) is protected during the colder months. Here are some handy (and simple) winter plumbing tips:

Inside your home

  • Insulate the pipes in your attic, crawl space, and any other unheated areas. This helps protect your pipes from the winter elements.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors when the temperatures are predicted to fall below freezing. This enables the water pipes to directly receive heat from inside your home.
  • Set your thermostat on a low setting when leaving your home while on vacation. This can help prevent freezing pipes.
  • When temps fall below freezing, let a slight drip of cold water run from your faucets. Using cold water will avoid extra heating charges.

Outside your home

  • Caulk any openings around pipes where they enter your home. Caulk can be purchased at your local hardware store or big box home improvement store.
  • Use wood or styrofoam blocks to close foundation vents and fill vent openings. This, along with caulking, will prevent cold air drafts from entering your home.
  • If you don’t have an outside water shut-off valve, insulate outside faucets and hose bibs. Hardware stores sell molded foam-insulating covers or you can use rags or newspapers covered with plastic wrap.
  • Disconnect all garden hoses and store them in a warm, insulated place.

Despite your due diligence and best efforts, your pipes could still freeze or even break. If your pipes freeze:

  • Use a hairdryer to safely thaw your pipes. Once the pipes have thawed, let a slow drip of water run from your faucet to ensure the pipes don’t refreeze.  
  • Leave the water meter box closed as it could increase the probability of freezing water.

If it is a worst-case scenario and your pipes break, follow these steps to prevent further damage:

  • Close the main water shut-off valve. This valve is located near your hot water heater, where you connect your hose, or in the garage.
  • Turn off your water heater. The shut-off valve is located on the cold water inlet.
  • Contact a plumber to repair any issues. Any broken pipes within your home are your responsibility, not the water company.

JTM Plumbing Services have been providing professional plumbing services to the Gretna, Nebraska area for decades. Our experienced technicians can service a variety of plumbing jobs and have a wealth of knowledge, spanning from traditional methods to new industry techniques. Whether you’re in need of regular maintenance or need an emergency appointment, we’re here for you! Visit our website to send us a message or give us a call at 402-203-6193 today!


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743 N 120th St,
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