How to Winterize Your Property in 8 Do-it-Yourself Steps

When cold weather arrives and the temperature drops below freezing, you need to have your home prepared the right way to avoid expensive water damage.  Part of that preparation involves winterizing your home’s plumbing system and minimizing the amount of cold air that can come into your property.

Expert Restoration recommends 8 important tasks to help keep your property free of problems that occur when cold weather hits. Many of these are easy to do yourself and don’t require a significant amount of work.  Take the time now, so you don’t have to worry about costly water damage and potential mold issues.

  • Make Sure Your Home’s Pipes Are Insulated
    • Apply heat tape to the pipes. For extra protection, we recommend wrapping your home’s pipes in heat-tape before you apply the insulation to give them additional protection from cold temperatures. It’s important to keep an eye on manufacturer instructions when approaching any do-it-yourself task, Doing this will ensure that you are applying the materials in a way for maximum efficiency and protection. 
    • Wrap pipes in insulation tubes.  In order to winterize your home plumbing, you will want to make sure they are insulated properly, especially if they are in a crawl space, on an outside wall of your home, or in any way exposed to the elements.  You will want to start with purchasing a thick layer of insulation that you can then wrap around your pipes. These insulating tubes are made of fiberglass or polyethylene and can be purchased online or at a hardware store.
  • Let Faucets Drip if You Know It’s Going to Be a Very Cold Night
    • Let water drip slowly from all interior faucets overnight.  In addition to investing in heat-tape and insulation to get your pipes ready for winter, we also recommended letting your faucets drip overnight if the temperature is going to drop below freezing. It will help eliminate some of the pressure that builds up in your property’s pipes.  The pipes are less likely to burst, even if they do freeze.
  • Winterize irrigation systems
    • Remove all water from your irrigation system. An irrigation system has the potential to freeze when there is water still in it.  The water can freeze, thus expanding and cracking the pipe. In order to prevent this from happening, there are multiple ways to remove the water: auto drain, manual drain, or blowout. All three of these methods are effective in clearing the water out of your irrigation pipes.
  • Install hose bib covers
    • Remove the hose from hose bib and install a bib cover. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to protect your hose bibs and faucets is by installing covers. They force you to remove the hose and to make sure there is an added barrier to cold temperatures freezing your hose bib and attached plumbing.  Anyone can do it, it takes very little time to install and you can find the covers at your local home improvement store for under five dollars.
  • Upgrade to a frost-free hose bib
    • Install a frost-free hose bib.  Installing a frost-free hose bib is one of the smartest long-term investments a homeowner could make. A frozen hose bib can be very dangerous and costly if it were to burst. Plumbers suggest an upgrade to a frost-free hose bib will help save you more money in the long run.
  • Insulate Crawl Spaces, Basement Windows, & Garage Doors
    • Make sure your property is well insulated. Make sure the all crawl spaces, basement windows (if you have them) and garage doors are properly insulated before cold temperatures hit. Cold air loves to seep through these open areas and make contact with your pipes. If these openings aren’t sealed, your pipes are definitely at risk to freeze – and potentially burst – if the temperature gets low enough. You can cover exterior crawlspace vents using pieces of cardboard (heavy duty is best) and you can then use duct tape to keep it in place.
  • Fix Exterior Cracks in Your Home’s Walls
    • Seal all exterior cracks and gaps on the property.  By fixing exterior cracks in exterior walls, you help to prevent cold air from seeping in and freezing the pipes. All you have to do is locate the crack and use caulking or spray foam installation to fill them in. It is a simple task that has a big impact.
  • Open Cabinets Below Your Home’s Sinks to Let Heat Inside
    • Open cabinet doors on cold nights.  Simply open the cabinets below any sinks in your home if it is going to be a very cold night. That’s it! By opening them, you’re allowing more heat to reach the pipes, which will prevent them from freezing. 

By walking through these winterization steps, you are setting up your property for a safe winter and minimizing the chance of any broken pipes that will result in a flood and that could cause extensive water damage. Also, did you know that if the insurance adjuster deems your water damage occurred due to property owner neglect, that your water damage claim could be denied?  Yes, you heard that right.  They are looking for reasons why they don’t have to pay out on your claim.  If you do these steps, you will have an easier time of getting your claim approved and paid out, however, each insurance company does have its own process. 

If you find that you have a broken pipe at your property, you will want to call Expert Restoration for help with addressing your water damage and to help you minimize the amount of water mitigation. We are available 24/7 in Utah.

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