Once the winter temperatures start to drop and stay low, especially overnight, it’s important to remember the necessary precautions to keep your pipes from freezing. Making sure that you take steps to keep your pipes safe from damage is an integral part of buying and selling in the winter, especially for homes that may be vacant.
Why? Water expands when it freezes, which can cause pipes to burst. If that happens, you risk flooding, ruining your drywall, and potentially spending thousands of dollars in repairs and replacement.
In fact, freezing and cracking are two of the most common issues with pipes in the winter, both of which can result in substantial damage to your home. Consider this: A report from Hartford Insurance shares that the average homeowner’s claim for damage from a frozen pipe is $18,000, according to data from five years of winter claims. Yikes.
Unfortunately, sometimes new homeowners are put in a situation where they’ve closed on a new home without prior knowledge of any issues with the pipes and find out the hard way. To keep yourself from having the same experience, we recommend completing a final walkthrough with your real estate specialist before you accept your keys. Your agent can provide guidance on what to do and make suggestions on protecting your family from costly repairs further down the line. Sometimes Georgia’s mild winters keep homeowners from having too many issues with frozen or leaking pipes, but you never can be too careful. Here are some helpful tips to keep your pipes in top condition this winter.
Tips to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing
Step 1: Drain your Pipes
Your absolute first step is to get the water in your pipes out. To do that, shut off all the water lines leading to your garden hose, sprinkler, and pool (if applicable). After you shut off the water valves, open the spigots to allow any remaining water to drip out.
Step 2: Insulate exposed Piping
Next, examine any pipes you may have located in areas that could go below freezing. These might be in unheated or uninsulated areas like your attic, basement, or crawl space. These pipes should be insulated with insulated sleeves or wrapping, which can be found at your local hardware store. Monitor the insulation periodically to ensure no areas have come undone or need to be replaced.
Step 3: Open cabinet doors
Once the temperatures start to drop, keep an eye on your indoor pipes as well, which might also need extra protection. One way to do that is to open any bathroom or kitchen cabinet doors that contain plumbing. Leave the space exposed to improve airflow that keeps your pipes warmer than they would be otherwise.
Step 4: Let your faucets Drip
When temperatures drop below freezing, let your faucets drip. Even a trickle of water can help prevent pipes from freezing because it relieves pressure building from any ice inside a pipe. This might seem like the most counterintuitive precaution, but it could be the simplest way to prevent costly repairs from a busted pipe.
Step 5: Shut off the Water Completely
Suppose you’re planning to travel during the holidays. In that case, you might want to make doubly sure that there’s less likely of an opportunity for a busted pipe and turn your home’s water entirely off. In many homes, the water shut-off valve is located close to where the water pipes make their way into your home, often near the kitchen, basement, or downstairs bathroom. (If you’re unsure where to look, consult your property records for a starting place.) Unused water sitting in pipes is likely to freeze, which could lead to a total mess and added headache of dealing with a busted pipe while you’re on vacation.
Learning how to prevent pipes from freezing can be done relatively easily by following a few steps and can save valuable time and energy during the winter months. If you’re buying or selling this season, our team of real estate specialists can act as your guide. Reach out to schedule a discovery session today.