Each winter, many homeowners face the expense and inconvenience of frozen water pipes. Because lawns will be going dormant as the weather turns from fall to winter it is good to turn off irrigation systems around November 1st. Monitor the weather—and specifically freezing temperatures—to be sure you winterize to protect your pipes.
Why Is Pipe Freezing a Problem?
Water expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including plastic and metal pipes. No matter the “strength” of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in in unheated interior areas like basements, and crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are subject to freezing.
To avoid frozen pipes and repair costs, please follow these precautions:
Outside Your Home:
- Shut off and drain your irrigation system. This may seem obvious, but sometimes people assume that their landscaper or lawn maintenance company has done it for them. This task only takes a few minutes and can save you hundreds of dollars in repair costs and water bills.
- Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Disconnecting hoses from their spigots allows water to drain from the pipe. Otherwise, the ice formed from a single, hard overnight freeze can burst either the pipe or the faucet. We have seen numerous instances where spigots lines froze over the winter and not until a customer notices a high bill in the summer (from hose use) is the broken pipe found.
- If you have a swimming pool, drain water from pool and supply lines following the manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed.
- Close foundation or exterior vents around the house during the cold months. This will help keep cold air out of crawl spaces.
- There should be an insulating blanket inside the water meter box on top of the meter.