Homeowners living in the colder regions of North America know that we get freezing temperatures every year, but what they may not realize is that when we get sustained frigid temperatures, we need to be concerned about our home’s piping systems. In addition to caulking your windows, raking leaves and cleaning out gutters, homeowners should place winterizing their home’s plumbing system high on their list of things to do to prepare for the weather. Here are some ways to make sure you don’t get caught in the cold:

1. Disconnect and drain your garden hoses and store them indoors.

2. Shut off the valves inside your basement ceiling that supply water to your garden faucet(s).

3. Wrap pipes and valves in unheated areas with heat tape or cover with pipe insulation. These products are available at your local home improvement store. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Turn off your irrigation system and drain water from the lines. Water left in the system could become frozen and cause pipes to break.

4. It is always a good idea to know where your main water shut off valve is. If a problem does arise in your water system, turning this valve off will stop the flow of water to your home. Typically, this valve is located next to your water meter, either at the front of the home or in your furnace room.

5. If no one will be home for an extended period of time during extreme winter weather, you should consider turning your main valve off altogether and hiring a plumber to drain your system. That way, there will be no water in your pipes to freeze. This is just in case your furnace fails.

Taking a few precautionary measures before cold weather sets in might just save you from dealing with a messy and costly water pipe emergency.

Have a safe and happy winter!

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