Faucet outside of home frozen with frost

As cold temperatures approach, it’s easy to get caught up with making sure your heating system is ready for the upcoming months. That’s a great start, but it’s important to think about preparing any outdoor plumbing for the extreme cold temperatures, too.

Why should you winterize outdoor plumbing for the colder weather ahead? Here are a few good reasons (and great places to get started).

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What Damage Can Winter Do?

Preparing your home’s plumbing for extreme cold really comes down to one central concern — your pipes.

At these colder temperatures, pipes are susceptible to freezing. The minimum temperature to keep pipes from freezing is difficult to pinpoint, but it’s definitely above 32 degrees. So, what happens when your pipes freeze? Well, a lot of things can go wrong.

Frozen water pipes keep water from flowing through your home, preventing your toilet, showers, and faucets from running. Making matters worse, water expands when it freezes. So as frozen water sits in pipes and continues to expand, it’s entirely possible the pipe could burst from the pressure.

The good news? There are steps you can take to prevent this in your home.

How To Winterize Your Plumbing System

Here are a few things you can do as winter approaches to prepare your plumbing system for the colder temperatures:

Pipes (Inside and Out)

Insulating plumbing in your attic, basement, and outdoor areas is a good start. You can do this on your own with foam from a local hardware store, or call on a trained Haller plumber to install the insulation.

Outdoor Faucets and Valves

Outdoor plumbing is more susceptible to the weather and is more likely to cause issues. You can sidestep these problems with freezing pipes and by disconnecting things like hoses, using shut-off valves to prevent water flow, and draining any remaining water left in outdoor faucets.

Winterize Your Sprinkler System

Sprinkler (or lawn irrigation) systems rely on a combination of pipes and valves located outside. So, as is the case with other outdoor plumbing systems, a failure to properly winterize (i.e. clearing out water and using shut-off valves) can lead to bigger problems, like a pipe burst.

A bit of maintenance and preparation before the leaves fall can have a huge impact when the snow comes. Take some time this fall to check in on your plumbing systems — and a few steps to keep them in top form — today so you don’t have to worry about dealing with problems (and extra expenses) in the months ahead.

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