A winter vacation is a great way to break up the monotony of the cold gray days. Whether you’re visiting some family for the upcoming winter holidays, heading on a skiing trip to take advantage of the chilly weather or running away to someplace tropical, the last thing you want is to come home to a plumbing disaster.
With the hustle and bustle of getting yourself and your loved ones ready for a vacation, preparing your home for your absence is often the furthest thing from your mind but it’s important to take some necessary precautions before you take a winter vacation to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze and burst while you’re away! Luckily with a few simple steps, you can help yourself avoid the situation.
Leave the Heat On
Turning your heat off while you’re away on a trip seems like a good idea on the surface. No one’s in the house that needs to be warm, so shutting the heat off until you’re back only makes sense to avoid wasting money. However, what you save on shutting down the heat, you’re likely to end up paying in plumbing repairs.
If the temperature in your area ever approaches freezing, turning your heat off while you go on a trip is really not a good idea. Your pipes need that warmth to protect them from the cold, and even if you take every other precaution in the book, a cold house is a surefire way to need frozen pipe repair services when you and your family get back home.
Leave the Water Dripping
If you’re leaving your home for an extended period, this might not be the best option for you, but another way that you can help to prevent freezing and bursting is to leave one of your faucets running at a very slight drip. Obviously this will waste some water, so you’ll need to use your best judgment regarding how long you’ll be away.
However, this can help to keep your pipes from freezing by having water continue to move through them. Moving water is more resistant to freezing than still water, so this constant motion will help the pipes to stave off the cold.
Insulate Your Pipes
If you live in a cold area and your pipes aren’t already insulated, it’s very important to make sure that this gets done. During chilly weather your pipes can freeze anytime, not just when you aren’t home, so investing in some insulation now can save you a lot of headaches down the line!
All of your exterior pipes should be surrounded by polyurethane or fiberglass pipe insulation, as well as any pipes in unheated areas of your home. You should also fill any gaps around outdoor spigots and any obvious cracks on the exterior of your house, such as windows, especially basement-adjacent windows, garage doors, and utility doors. This will help to keep the heat in and keep frozen pipes from becoming a problem.
Open the Cabinets
Often in kitchens and bathrooms, pipes can run behind cabinet spaces that are extremely cold, even when the heat is on in the house. Because these areas are closed off from the rest of the room, the heat has trouble permeating inside. If you’ve ever put on clothes taken straight out of the closet during the winter months, you probably know exactly how cold it can get in closed-off spaces.
To help counteract this, leave your cabinet doors open while you’re away. This allows the heat to get inside and help warm the pipes behind the cabinet!
With these tips and tricks, you should be much better equipped to protect your pipes while you and your loved ones take a fun winter vacation this year! If you need help with pipe insulation or you want to have an expert plumber on hand just in case, don’t hesitate to contact Schuler Service before you head out!