Northwest cold snaps can wreck havoc on home plumbing systems.
Unprotected pipes can freeze, leaving you without access to water. Even more serious, pipes can crack or break, leaving you with potential flooding and serious repairs.
Follow these steps to winterize your home and protect yourself from frozen and damaged pipes. Find more tips on NW storm and winter safety HERE.
BEFORE COLD WEATHER HITS:
KNOW WHERE MAIN SHUT-OFF VALVE IS LOCATED FOR QUICK ACCESS IN EMERGENCIES. If a pipe breaks, you can limit flooding damage by turning off your main shut-off valve. These are typically located in the basement, garage, or outdoors by the foundation, often near the front faucet. If you don't have a functioning shut-off valve, we recommend installing one for your home's safety.
|INSULATE PIPES AND FAUCETS IN UNHEATED SPACES. Outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated garages, attics and crawl spaces are the most vulnerable in freezing weather. Close crawl space vents and stuff insulation over the openings.|
|DISCONNECT AND DRAIN OUTDOOR HOSES. Detaching the hose helps protect your hose bibs and pipes from freezing. Install insulators over hose bibs, found at any hardware store.|
|TURN OFF AND DRAIN IRRIGATION SYSTEM. Blow out any leftover water from lines to protect irrigation pipes. A professional company can do this for you.|
DURING FREEZING WEATHER:
|CIRCULATE WARM AIR TO PIPES. Open cabinet doors and keep garage doors shut.|
|KEEP HEAT SET AT 55 DEGREES, especially when leaving home for several days|
|DURING VERY COLD WEATHER, CRACK A FAUCET. The trickle will keep pipes from freezing.|
GOING OUT OF TOWN? CONSIDER TAKING SOME EXTRA PRECAUTIONS:
- Turn off the main shut-off valve. Ask your gas or electric utilities about turning off the electricity or gas to the water heater.
- You can also call us to shut off water at the meter. We will do this for you once/year at no charge.
- For an extended vacancy, you should also drain the water heater.
- Other good ideas: flush toilets once (to drain the tank but not the bowl), open indoor and outdoor faucets to drain pipes, and leave your heat on at a minimum temperature setting (at least 55 degrees).
IF YOUR PIPES FREEZE OR BREAK:
TO SAFELY THAW PIPES: Apply rags soaked in hot water to pipes. Pour hot water over rags until the water flows again.
|Where do you find water to use? Boil water from your emergency water supply, or use water from your hot water tank or toilet tank.|
|NEVER use an open flame or electric device to thaw a frozen pipe—this could cause a fire or electric shock!|
|AFTER THAWING: Remove wet rags and wrap pipes with dry insulation to prevent refreezing.|
|IF THE PIPE WAS BROKEN DURING THE FREEZE: Watch out for it to begin leaking as it thaws. To prevent flooding, be ready to turn water off at your main shut-off valve quickly.|
As always, we are here to help you. Contact us any time you have a question or problem.