Winters in New Jersey can be especially brutal. Temperatures plunge, wet snow comes in from the Atlantic, and we get storm after storm in quick succession. Winter is no time to begin preparing pipes for winter weather. Attend to winter plumbing maintenance in the fall, before temperatures drop.
Shut Down on Vacation
If your winter plans include a trip down the Parkway and on to warmer southern weather, you must shut down your home and protect pipes from freezing. Turn off the water supply at the main valve and drain the plumbing system so no water is left standing. A ruptured pipe is a nightmare, especially if you are not around to find and fix the damage quickly.
Wrap Up Pipes
Any pipes running through unheated areas—crawl space, basement, or garage—need to have insulation to keep them just above freezing. You can use pipe insulation or foam sleeves.
Cover Exposed Pipes
Outside faucets need special attention when preparing pipes for winter. Turn each faucet’s water supply off at an inside shutoff valve. Disconnect garden hoses attached to the hose bibs. Then open the hose bib to let the water drain. Open up both ends of the garden hoses, too, to keep them from splitting.
Repair Leaking Pipes
A sign that a pipe is frozen is a drop in water pressure, either because the water is frozen solid or has narrowed the pipe opening. Do not attempt to fix the frozen pipe yourself, because applying a blowtorch to a pipe can lead to a major plumbing emergency or even a house fire. Call a professional plumber, who has the equipment and training to diagnose, remove and replace the frozen (and likely ruptured) pipe.
For more guidance on preparing pipes for winter, contact us at Pipe Works Services