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Plumbing Winterization to Fall Back On

Plumbing Winterization

“All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown)
and the sky is grey (and the sky is grey)…”

Which means that it’s time to winterize that plumbing again. If you’re a new homeowner, first of all, congratulations! Secondly, “winterizing” basically just means getting something ready for the cold weather, so that it won’t be damaged. Freezing winter temps here in Portland can cause all kinds of problems for your plumbing (and your water supply), but the good news is that you can prevent a lot of them with a little bit of proactivity! Start here:

Insulate ya pipes. This is probably the single most effective way to avoid damage to your pipes this winter. Exposed pipes, pipes that travel through exterior walls, and pipes in attics and crawl spaces are all susceptible to freezing and, in turn, breaking. That can end up causing huge amounts of damage and costing tons of money. There are a few different ways to insulate the pipes in your Portland home — one of the simplest is wrapping them in foam sleeves — but Wolcott’s expert plumbers are always happy to take a look at the plumbing in your home and make a recommendation just for you.

And ya outdoor faucets, too. First things first, you’re going to want to disconnect any garden hoses, drain them, and coil those puppies up somewhere cozy for the winter. Hoses that stay connected to outdoor faucets freeze easily during cold spells and that ice can actually cause a pressure build-up in your pipes, which can lead to leaks — or worse. Once that’s all done, invest in some insulated faucet covers to prevent ice from forming on the faucets themselves.

Actually, let’s just drain those outdoor water lines altogether. So, before you put those faucet covers in place, you may want to turn off the water supply to your outdoor faucets and then just turn on the tap until nothing comes out. If you’re not sure how to turn off the water supply, give Wolcott a call and one of our plumbing pros will head over to help you out. You can leave your outdoor water supply off until spring.

Do you even sump pump? Portland homes are likely to need a sump pump at some point during the rainy winter months, so check to make sure that yours is in good shape. Don’t have one? Wolcott’s pros can see whether you need one and help you choose the best one for your home.

Start keeping your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees — even when you’re not home. The warm air inside your house will help prevent pipes from freezing.

Speaking of staying warm, now’s a great time to check for spots where heat can escape from your home. Basically, anywhere that a hole has been cut in your wall (doors, windows, outlets, etc.), there’s a risk for heat loss, and repairing those areas now can safeguard pipes and save money on energy bills, too. Through the winter months, remember to close windows and doors (and garage doors) to trap that warm air inside. You may also want to check under your sink and inside your other cabinets to make sure that it’s not too cold under there. If it is, just leave those cabinet doors open to let some heat flow in.

If all else fails, run the water. This strategy is effective because moving water doesn’t freeze as easily as standing water, but ideally, you won’t need to use it. If you end up in a situation where it’s really, terribly cold outside and you know that your pipes aren’t super protected from the frigid temps, you can run the water a bit from time to time and it should do the trick.

Even if you’ve done all of the work to prevent plumbing probs this winter, well, stuff happens, you know? If you run into any issues, just give us a call and we’ll fix you up, no sweat.

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