Tips for Winterizing Your Plumbing

It is always recommended that you contact a plumbing professional and follow all manufacturer’s instructions when winterizing or making any type of repairs to your plumbing.  

  • Know where your main water shut-off valve is before problems arise. Marking the valve will allow you to quickly turn off the water if a pipe should burst or you have other water problems. Should you have to turn the main water valve off, turn on faucets to allow the water to drain and release the pressure in your pipes. It is recommended that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the water in an emergency to help minimize damage.
  • Pipe insulation provides your first line of defense against cold temperatures and frozen pipes. Pay particular attention to pipes located in unheated spaces. Hardware or building supply stores carry insulation designed to keep pipes in these areas from freezing. One type of insulation, and what many homeowners prefer, is insulation tubes specifically designed for pipes. Be sure to measure the outside diameter of your pipes to make sure you purchase the correct size of tube and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Disconnect and store garden hoses. If your home has a separate shut-off for external faucets, turn it off and drain the water from those faucets. Consider upgrading to frost-free hose bibs and investing in hose bib covers for more protection.
  • Turn off and drain sprinkler systems. You may want to call in a professional company to blow out any leftover water in the underground lines. A broken sprinkler pipe can do damage to the delicate components that make up the entire system, increasing the cost of repair.
  • Keep out the cold. Keep the garage door closed to prevent cold air from affecting plumbing on bordering walls. Consider insulating spaces such as your garage, attic, basement, and crawl space.
  • Seal air leaks. Even the smallest hole can allow enough cold air in the space to freeze plumbing pipes. Check for air leaks around doors, windows, exterior wall sockets and switches, electrical wiring, and plumbing. 
  • If you will be away from your home, keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature (no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher, if extreme temperatures are in the forecast). Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if your sinks are on an exterior wall.
  • Report broken or missing meter lids to Spotsylvania County Utilities Customer Service Department at (540) 507-7300, Option 1. This will help prevent frozen meters.