10 Tips to Protect Plumbing During Cold Weather
- Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected during freezing temperatures, water in hoses will freeze and expand, causing connecting faucets and pipes to freeze and break.
- Inspect outside faucets. If they’re dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber.
- Note that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds and causes cracks, whether the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a single day.
- If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from the pipes. Cover outside faucets using an inexpensive faucet insulation kit.
- Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around exposed pipes.
- Your water heater works harder during winter months. Drain corrosion-causing sediment from the tank, which reduces energy efficiency.
- Set water heater thermostat to 125 degrees F for optimum performance without risk of scalding.
- Clear any leaves and debris from roof gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage through the winter season.
- Inspect and clean sump pit. Remove any rocks and debris from pit then dump a bucket of water into the sump pit to test the pump. If it turns on and pumps water out then turns itself off, it is operating properly.
- Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees F during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing.
Winterizing Your Homes Water Supply
Turn off the water at the exterior. Make sure that the water supply is turned off completely at the main supply point. If the furnace should fail on a very cold day, water in a pipe could freeze and burst the pipe. To turn water off to the exterior, please call the Dover Township Water Department at 717-292-3634. Note: The water meter should be disconnected and drained to prevent meter from damage.
- Open all faucets and drain all waterlines. If you live in an area where freezing pipes can be a problem, drain the toilets, the water heater (turn off the gas or electric supply first) and the expansion tank.
- Get an air compressor to blow the lines of excess water. Eliminate or dilute the water in drain traps by pouring an “RV” type antifreeze solution into them, as directed by the instructions.
- Close the sink and tub drains.
- If a house is to be vacant for a long time, you may prevent water in a toilet’s trap from evaporating (and thereby permitting sewer gases to enter the home) by raising the toilet’s lid and seat and covering the bowl with saran wrap.
- Turn off and drain fountains and other sources of standing water.
- Drain water from dishwashers and pour RV antifreeze, with refrigerators (with a water dispenser or an ice maker) and washing machines, following the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the water filter from inside the refrigerator.
More Public Water Information