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Prepare Your Home for Winter
Follow these tips to prepare your home for winter and avoid costly repairs.

BEFORE COLD WEATHER SETS IN:

  • Check sprinkler or irrigation systems. Make sure you've turned everything off and fully drained the system.
  • Identify your home's freezing points. Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls.
  • Protect your pipes. Where pipes are exposed to cold, wrap them with insulation or heat tape (even fabric or newspaper can help).
  • Strengthen your defenses. Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors.
  • Know how to shut off your water. Locate your main water shut-off valve. Make sure it is properly marked and in good working condition.

WHEN TEMPERATURES STAY BELOW FREEZING:

  • Give pipes a helping hand. If pipes run through cabinets or vanities, open the doors to let warmer room temperatures flow in.
  • Keep water working. Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a small trickle of water to run. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.

BUT IF YOUR PIPES DO FREEZE:

  • Shut off the water immediately. Do no attempt to thaw pipes without turning off the main shutoff valve.
  • Thaw pipes with warm air. You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming the air around it with a hair dryer or space heater. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Be careful when turning water back on. Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check pipes and joints for any cracks or leaks that might have been caused by freezing.