Preparing Your Plumbing for Cold Weather
The winter season can prove to be extra challenging for homeowners. Aside from making sure the home is conditioned enough to keep individuals protected and insulated form the freezing cold outside, the plumbing system also needs some extra attention.
* Inspect outside faucets. If dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before a freeze.
* If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from the pipes.
* Cover outside faucets using an inexpensive faucet insulation kit.
* Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around exposed pipes.
* Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing. Note that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds causing cracks.
* Drain corrosion-causing sediment from the tank, which reduces energy efficiency if it’s not removed.
* Set water heater thermostat to 120 F for optimum performance without risk of scalding.
* Clear any leaves and debris from roof gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage throughout the winter season.
* Inspect and clean sump pit. Remove any rocks and debris from pit then dump a bucket of water into the sump pit to test the pump. If it turns on and pumps water out then turns itself off, it is operating properly.SOURCE: Ten cold-weather plumbing tips for homeowners