Winters in Minnesota can be brutal. On top of the ice storms and the snowfall, parts of the state can get as cold as -60 degrees Fahrenheit. That kind of cold can be very bad for your plumbing, so you need to make sure that your pipes won’t freeze during the winter. Here are some tips that will help.
Insulate Exposed Pipes
The exposed pipes in your basement, garage, or crawlspace are particularly vulnerable to freezing, especially since they’re located in places that usually don’t have a lot of insulation or heat. Fortunately, you can easily keep these pipes from freezing by wrapping them in pipe insulation. You can find insulation at most hardware or department stores, so pick some up before the weather gets cold and wrap it around your exposed pipes. If you can’t find any insulation or can’t make it to the store, some old blankets or thick towels can do in a pinch.
Keep Your Garage Door Closed
If you have exposed pipes in your garage, try to keep your garage door closed during the winter. Try to be sure that you’re quickly closing the door after moving your car to cut down on the amount of time that your pipes face the elements.
Leave the Heat on in Your Home
You’re probably going to keep your thermostat at a comfortable temperature as long as you’re home, but you should never turn off your home’s heating system completely if you plan to travel this winter. If you’re going to be away from home for long, your thermostat should be set at no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s not high enough to impact your heating bill too much, but it should be enough to keep your pipes from freezing. Besides, cleaning up after a pipe has frozen and burst will be much more expensive than your monthly heating bill.
Let Your Faucets Trickle
Your pipes are less likely to freeze if water is still moving through them. While this doesn’t mean that you should turn on all your faucets and let your water run at full blast, it does mean that you can turn them on to a trickle if you’re concerned about freezing pipes. This might raise your water bill slightly, but it’s still cheaper than having to make repairs that follow a burst pipe.
Open Your Cabinets
If you have cabinets underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks, keep them open on cold days. This exposes the plumbing in the cabinets to the warm air that circulates through your home and keeps them from freezing.
Turn Off Your Outdoor Faucets
Since you won’t be needing your outdoor faucets to water your lawn during the winter, shut them off in the fall. Find the main shutoff valve for these faucets, shut them down, and open the faucets to let any remaining water drain from them. This is known as winterizing your faucets, and it can keep your pipes from freezing this winter.
Check Your Insulation
For a long-term solution that will keep your home and your pipes from freezing, check the insulation in your home. If you know that it’s been a few decades since your insulation was installed or if you feel unexplained drafts or cold spots in your home, it’s probably time to redo your insulation. This is especially important in the areas where you have exposed plumbing such as your basement or your garage. Pay close attention to your windows while you’re at it. If you feel drafts coming from your windows, even when they’re closed, apply some weather stripping to keep the cold out.
Call Affinity Plumbing and Water Conditioning in Shakopee, MN to Inspect Your Plumbing
Before it gets really cold outside, contact Affinity Plumbing and Water Conditioning to have us complete a full inspection of your home. We can identify spots where your plumbing is likely to freeze, replace old and worn pipes, and even detect small leaks that could get worse in cold weather. Your plumbing should be inspected at least once every two years, so give us a call if you know that you haven’t had an inspection recently. We can also install water heaters, repair plumbing fixtures, and clean your drains, so don’t hesitate to contact us for any reason.
For more information about our plumbing services or if you have any questions about winterizing your pipes, contact Affinity Plumbing and Water Conditioning in Shakopee today.