Winters in Philadelphia are sometimes harsh, and if you don’t prepare your house before the temperatures drop below zero you could find yourself faced with a number of unwanted plumbing issues. Luckily, it’s relatively simple to prepare your home plumbing for winter using basic items that you can find at your local home improvement store.
Insulate the Exposed Pipes in Your Home
There are generally three main rooms in your home where you’ll find exposed pipes: the kitchen, the bathroom, and the basement (or the garage). You can easily insulate the exposed pipes in your view with a product called pre-slit polyethylene insulation. This is a long piece of foam-like tubing that has a slit running down the side. Simply remove the adhesive and carefully wrap the insulation foam around the pipe — this keeps the cold air from freezing the metal. You may need a few pieces, depending on how many pipes you have to cover. Also, make sure you buy the right size insulation, as pipes have varying widths.
Insulate the Crawlspaces
A lot of Philadelphia homes (especially rowhomes and townhouses) were built with small crawlspaces instead of full attics. These crawlspaces are rarely heated during the winter, so if you have piping in them, it’s important to ensure they’re insulated. Fill your crawlspaces with fiberglass insulation, which will help shield the pipes from the winter’s cold.
Image Source: Flickr
Protect Water Heaters in Winter Months
Although your water heater is a source of heat for your home, it may also need a little help when icy winter days roll into Philly. You can protect your hot water tank by wrapping it in a large “blanket.” Just visit your local home improvement store and purchase a water heater insulating blanket kit. Shut off the unit first, then wrap it with the blanket provided and secure it with electrical tape. Depending on where the tank controls are, you may have to cut out holes in certain places on the insulating blanket. Carefully follow the directions on the kit you choose to ensure a safe and secure installation. Note that some modern water heaters already come manufactured with insulation — consult your unit’s manual.
Shut Off Your Outdoor Water Source
When the late fall season arrives and winter is right around the corner, you’ll no longer need to water your lawn or garden. Leaving the water on could cause any water left inside to freeze and expand. Since there will be no need to use the water, shut off the pipes that lead to your outdoor water faucet. First, turn the outside water faucet on all the way, then go inside and turn the spigot on the pipe closed until the water stops running completely. Cover the pipe nearest the faucet with a small piece of pre-slit polyethylene insulation for the winter.
Follow these simple steps to prepare the home plumbing in your Philadelphia home for the upcoming cold season, and you should be all set for the winter. If you’re unsure about certain plumbing and HVAC issues in your home, don’t hesitate to call a specialist to your home for a checkup. Keep in mind that if you’re a new homeowner with a home warranty, the visit may be covered.
Main Image Source: Flickr/Les Chatfield
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