Winterization Tips

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In a climate that experiences freezing temperatures, the risk of damage to your home from frozen pipes rises rapidly as the temperature drops. Water expands 9-10% when it freezes, exerting tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it and can split pipes, fixtures, valves, P-traps and more, creating potentially devastating damage and flooding.

 

Every winter many homes in Lake Arrowhead, and the surrounding mountain communities, are affected by damage from frozen pipes. Many times the damage occurs in homes that have weathered previous winters without freezing so the owners didn't feel it was necessary to implement preventative measures. However, many variables contribute to the degree of risk of freeze damage, including rate and sustained time of temperature drop, direction and velocity of wind, building construction, insulation and other weather conditions. 

 

Burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during frigid weather and can cause thousands of dollars in water damage, not to mention the inconvenience of extended restoration time. The time to implement prevention is well before the temperatures plummet into the danger zone.

 

Hilman's Plumbing offers professional winterization services, including blowing out water and irrigation lines, if needed. But, whether your home will be occupied full time during the winter or not, we strongly recommend that all homeowners consider implementing a plan for preventative measures to minimize the risk of damage to your investment in your home. Many part-time residences are not prepared for winter temperatures when left for an extended period of time. Even if you are shutting your home down well before freezing temperatures are anticipated, prepare your home for the possibility that it will not be occupied when weather changes. We recommend the following preventative tips for all homeowners:

 

Preventing Frozen Pipes and Flooding
  • Identify the location of your main water shut-off valve before you need to find it in an emergency! It is usually located near the water meter, but check that it is accessible and you know how to turn it off so you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible if a pipe bursts. A small amount of time invested now could save you from extensive flood damage later.

  • Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest.

  • Seal air leaks surrounding or near pipes. Cold air blowing through tiny cracks has been known to freeze pipes.

  • Leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F, if you plan to be away during cold weather.

  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during day and night during a cold snap. This is not the time to set the thermostat back at night. Trying to save a few dollars on your heating bill could be an expensive mistake.

  • Keep garage doors closed during frigid weather, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.

  • Prior to cold season, disconnect all outdoor hoses from hose bibbs. Frost-free hose bibbs typically do not require additional winterization or drainage. If your hose bibbs are not frost-free, turn off water supply to exterior valve and drain pipe via hose bibbs.

  • Sprinkler system supply lines should be drained following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. 

  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under sinks to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing during a cold spell, or if home is to be unoccupied during cooler months. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.

  • Turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls to allow a small trickle of dripping water to run during the night in freeze-prone areas when the weather is very cold outside. Even a tiny trickle can helps prevent pipes from freezing.

  • If you need to be away from home during cold weather, follow our winterization checklist here.