Winter Plumbing Tips

Sewickley Water Winter Plumbing Tips


How to prepare your plumbing system to prevent freezing pipes and other common cold weather plumbing problems.


When it comes to plumbing, there are certain “cold weather” preventative measures that will help maintain a healthy, efficient water system and avoid excess water loss and excessive bills. In addition to the harsh winter weather. Thankfully, you can prevent many common plumbing problems by being proactive and following Sewickley Water’s maintenance tips to help safeguard your system throughout the winter months.

Know the location of your home's main water valve.


In case of a major incident - such as a pipe bursting - when you might need to immediately shut off all the water in the home, it's critical to know where the main water valve is located. This valve is usually located next to the water meter and should be kept in good condition. To maintain your home's main water valve and keep it in working order, open and close it once a year.

Turn off outside water valves to prevent frozen pipes.


When the temperature drops below freezing, water pipes in your home have the potential to rupture, creating an expensive disaster in your home's basement. To protect against frozen pipes, turn off all outside water valves and then look for pipes in un-insulated areas of the home, such as those running along the home's outer walls. These pipes are the most likely to freeze and should be wrapped with foam or towels for the season. In cases of extreme cold, it's a good idea to let faucets drip slowly in order to encourage water flow.


Conserve your home’s energy – but don’t go too low!


If at any time during the winter you’ll be away from your home, you may be tempted to turn down the heat to save energy. However, turning the heat too low increases the risk of frozen and ruptured pipes. The damage caused by such an accident will be even greater if the rupture goes unnoticed for days, weeks, or even months. To best prevent a pipe rupture, the home's temperature should be set no lower than 45F. This solution offers maximum savings while protecting against frozen pipes.


Consider installing insulation


Preventing frozen pipes can be as simple as a little planning and installing foam insulation. Insulating foam sheaths are sold at most hardware stores in a variety of sizes and are easy to install. Make sure to insulate the entire length of pipe from the point where your home’s main water line emerges from the ground to the point where it enters the heated space of your home. You should also insulate any pipes that are outside the heated portion of your home, like those in attics, unheated basements and outdoor hose bibbs. If pipe insulation is not a DIY job for your home, call a licensed plumber.

Knowing where your main water valve is located and taking these preventative steps can save your home from costly damage.