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6 Tips to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter

Winter is officially here, the holidays have come and gone — but now that the flurry of excitement has settled, have you checked on the status of your home’s plumbing?

With temperatures continuing to drop, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. As you know, Chicagoland winters are no joke and can take a serious toll on your pipes and home. Taking preventative measures now can ensure your home’s plumbing will withstand the winter season!

If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few pointers to follow:

1. Insulate Your Pipes

This is one of the first things you should do when beginning to winterize your plumbing. As temperatures plummet, pipe insulation will be your first line of defense against frozen pipes (and a potential burst).

Simply purchase some insulation tubes to wrap around the exterior of your pipes — which you can find at your local hardware store or order online! You’ll want to insulate every pipe in your home, especially those in unheated areas (we’re looking at you, basement).

Pro Tip: pay attention to any pipes that may have frozen in previous winters, as these might need some extra protection in the months ahead. In fact, consider wrapping these pipes in heat tape, prior to putting on insulation.

2. Fix All Wall Cracks

If you have cracks in the exterior walls of your home, you’ll want to ensure that they are fixed ASAP. This will prevent cold air from entering your home and coming in contact with your plumbing pipes. Ultimately, all you’ll need is some spray-on insulation (or caulk) to keep cold air outside where it belongs!

3. Let the Faucets Drip

If you know that the temperature is going to dip into the single digits, allow your faucets to drip overnight.

Letting a small amount of water run through your faucet releases some of the pressure that can build up in your pipes — thus preventing pipe bursts, even if your pipe still freezes (win-win!).

4. Fix Any Leaks

Whether it’s an air or water leak, sealing or fixing damaged areas is key. Not only are leaks a huge source of energy loss, but they can also create a larger problem (with a larger cost to fix) down the line.

5. Open Cabinets

Especially where pipes are, specifically under your kitchen or bathroom sink! By keeping the cabinet doors ajar, you’ll be allowing more heat to come in and prevent your pipes from freezing.

6. Remove, Drain and Put Away Outside Hoses

If you still have any hoses left outdoors, it’s time to get them stored away. First, be sure to disconnect them, followed by draining any remaining water from the outdoor hose bib.

Not sure if your pipes are frozen or ready to burst? Keep an eye out for these signs:

  1. Damp walls or leaks: Pay careful attention to your walls. If there is a pipe leak, water will seep into your drywall. Rings on the ceiling and wet carpeting are some other red flags, alerting you that water is somewhere it shouldn’t be. If you happen to notice any of these warning signs, give us a call ASAP before extensive water damage occurs.
  2. Persistent plumbing issues: Are you turning on your faucet only to find out that the well has run dry? Or perhaps the water is running rather slowly or unevenly after a few minutes. Ultimately, this may be an indication that you have a frozen pipe.
  3. ​​​​​​Frost: This may be the most obvious sign! If you happen to notice that your pipes have frost on the exterior, this likely means they are frozen or in the process of freezing.

Contact a Lombard Plumber for Service Today!

Of course, even with the proper preventative measures, pipes can still freeze. If you experience any plumbing problems this season, give the experts at Precision Plumbing a call. We’re proud to offer all of DuPage and Kane Counties with same day, speedy service: (630) 280-3221


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