Steps to winter proof your home

With the onslaught of cold weather facing us, you need to think about steps to winter proof your home.  Your pipes are a good place to start. There are many DIY ways to protect you and avoid costly plumbing bills.  Here are some tips to help you

  • Be ready for it

Insulating your exposed pipes with foam insulation like a popular spray brand, or to blocks that you can purchase almost anywhere is a good start.   Cover vents that lead to crawl spaces where pipes run.   Make sure you know where your home’s water shutoff is in case pipes do break.    Shut shed and garage doors that contain exposed pipes, and try to keep as temporary patch kit on hand to cut off any ruptured pipes until they can be properly repaired.

  • Turn Up the Heat

If you house is an older style that is built over crawl space that is not insulated, by Turning up your thermostat you will increase the ambient temperature thus warming the crawlspace and inside cabinets where pipes might be hiding.

  • Make Fiberglass blankets

Pick up a roll or two of fiberglass insulation at your local hardware store. You should also get gloves, and dust mask, a utility knife, and rolls of duct tape.  Wrap your insulation around pipes in the attic, tucked into crawl spaces or against outside walls.  If a pipe looks unprotected and vulnerable, wrap it!

  • Pull out the big guns with heat blankets or heating cable

Installing a heat cable can keep a pipe from freezing and bursting.  Just follow the instructions included on the package for best results.  Some heat tape is made to be wrapped around the pipe itself, while some types run alongside it.     You can buy the cable “ready to use”, with an electrical plug in large rolls that you can cut to desired lengths and add your own ends.

  • Space Heaters work a treat

Keep your unprotected pipes from freezing by using an electric heater to warm the air around them. It does not have to be kept at a temperature comfortable to you- it only needs to be above freezing to be effective.

  • Turn your Water off

In case of extreme freezing and no way to protect your pipes, turn off the water main.  Be sure to open all taps and drain the pipes of any residual water.

  • Leave Cabinet Doors open

The plumbing that runs under your kitchen or bathroom sink is usually on an exterior wall.    This can be an extremely vulnerable area because these walls may not be insulated.  Leaving the cabinet doors along these walls open to project heat into the space can help.   Placing an electric heating unit in front of the cabinets is also helpful.