How can I prevent my water pipes from freezing in the winter?

Cincinnati-based Roto-Rooter, which operates a location in Springettsbury Township, recommends the following tips to protect plumbing systems during freezing temperatures:

  • 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.

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