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Is it time to winterize your home's plumbing?

Do I Need to Winterize My Home’s Plumbing System?


Now that the colder months are officially here, you’ll probably start hearing lots of people talking about winterizing their homes in one way or another. What actually is winterizing? It’s basically just the concept of preparing your home for the winter weather, specifically the plumbing in your home. Plumbing and cold temperatures don’t mix, and most homeowners know what a problem it can cause to have one small part of a pipe freeze and swell or burst. Now imagine that throughout a whole home! It’s safe to say that for this reason, protecting your plumbing from the cold is something that everyone should take seriously. 


The term “winterizing” is often used to describe the process of completely draining the pipes throughout the house for the season. This is most often done in vacation homes, bungalows, cabins, and other similar buildings that are expected to be uninhabited throughout the season and will have their heat turned off. When it comes to your full-time house, this process isn’t necessary. However, there are still some things you can do to winterize your home and protect your pipes from the chilly weather this year. Here are some of them!

Insulate Your Pipes

In the fight against cold weather, insulation is your best friend. An exposed pipe is vulnerable to freezing temperatures, but an insulated pipe is much better protected from icy nights and cold snaps. It’s possible to add heating wire to your pipes to add an extra layer of protection and help prevent them from getting too cold, but standard insulation is easier and cheaper to install and maintain, and should be your first line of defense against frozen pipes.

Drain the Outdoor Plumbing 

While draining the plumbing system for the entire house isn’t necessary or practical if you’re going to be living there all winter, draining any outdoor plumbing that you have is probably a good idea. Spigots and sprinkler systems are unlikely to see a lot of use during the winter, and because they’re completely outside the house, they’re almost impossible to adequately protect and insulate. Instead, it’s better to remove any risk by removing any water!

Locate the Water Shutoff Valve

If you don’t know where the water shutoff valve is in your home, it’s time to find it right away! This isn’t only an important piece of knowledge to have for the winter months. Any plumbing issue can result in leaks or spillage, and shutting off the water supply to the house is usually the first thing you’re going to want to do in order to prevent further water damage. If your house is connected to the municipal water supply as opposed to a private well, it’s likely on the outermost wall of the house facing the street somewhere. If you use well water or are having trouble finding the valve, a professional plumber can help you to look for it.

Close Vents and Fix Windows

Any external vents that could let cold air into the house, even into small, insignificant crawl spaces or other areas that don’t see a lot of use, like the attic, can increase your chances of dealing with a frozen pipe during the winter. Closing off these vents is an important part of preparing your home for the season! It’s also a good idea to check over your windows to ensure none of them are letting in cold drafts or bursts of air. If they are, it’s time to get them fixed!

Leave the Heat On

It seems like a waste of money to leave the heat running if you’re leaving the house for an extended period of time, like if you’re going on vacation. However, you really never want to let your house get that cold in the wintertime. It will wreak havoc on your pipes! Instead, set your thermostat to a much lower temperature– usually 55 degrees Fahrenheit at a minimum. This will keep the ice at bay and prevent you from coming home to a disaster!


Want the help of professional plumbers in winterizing your house? Call Schuler Service today! We’ll guide you through the process and get your home prepared to weather even the coldest blizzards. 

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