Winter Plumbing Maintenance Checklist
For most of us, winter has already arrived—with a vengeance! As you seek to stay warm and to enjoy this special season with loved ones, it is vital to also remember to take care of your home plumbing. Ideally, you have already attended to these winter plumbing maintenance matters—but if you’re running a bit behind, we’ve got a helpful checklist to offer. Remember: It’s not too late to protect your plumbing—and your home—from the elements!
Your Winter Plumbing Maintenance Checklist
- Deal with exposed pipes. Any exposed pipes that are actually used for water need to be wrapped in electrical heating tape. Once they’ve been wrapped good and snug, wrap them with some foam pipe insulation. Make sure to get pipes under sinks, outside the house, and—if possible and where applicable—pipes you see under the crawlspace. Note that these supplies are available from any home improvement store.
- Address exterior water. Exterior faucets should be shut off. All hoses should be removed from the taps. For those with home irrigation systems, it is important to shut those off and drain them as well. If you’re not sure of the best method to drain your irrigation system, it is smart to call an experienced plumber.
- Insulate your hot water heater. By maintaining your hot water heater, you can not only prevent it from freezing, but also lower your monthly utility bills—and keep your family nice and comfortable in the process! Insulating blankets do the trick quite nicely, and can be found at most any home improvement store.
- Repair any leaky faucets. This is not an exclusively wintertime concern, but it is never a bad time to make the minor tweaks necessary to stop that dripping. Remember that leaks can occur not only at the faucet, but also inside cabinets.
- Check all pipes. This is another not-strictly-winter item, but it is worth carving out some time for it this season. As you check pipes for leaks and for bare spots in insulation, also be on the lookout for soft spots on walls or ceilings. There could be a leak in the walls or in the attic.
- Check bathroom fixtures. Apply caulk around showers and tubs, as needed. Peel away the older caulk if it’s coming loose. Also check your toilets to make sure they flush properly and don’t run. Ensure they are firmly held in place.
By following through on all of these items, you’ll not only ensure a warm season and a lower utility bill; you’ll also minimize the chances of any major plumbing problem in the foreseeable future!