How to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter

As chilly fall temperatures arrive, it’s important to make sure your plumbing is ready for another New Jersey winter. Here are our top seasonal winter plumbing tips to prepare for the changing weather.

  • Disconnect and store garden hoses: When you retire your flower garden, wrap up hoses and store them in the shed or garage. If you keep them connected to your outdoor spigots, water could freeze in the hoses, damaging the faucets and plumbing. The pipes could even burst as a result, leaving a watery mess in your home.
  • Check outdoor spigots for drips or leaks: As you disconnect hoses, check the condition of every outdoor spigot. If they are dripping or leaking, have them repaired as soon as possible. If this dripping water freezes, it could damage the faucet, possibly causing the leak to worsen.
  • Protect outdoor spigots from low temperatures: Any water sitting in the pipes that lead to outdoor faucets could freeze and cause damage. To prevent this, shut off the water to the spigots via an interior shut-off valve. An alternative method is to install a Styrofoam insulation kit over each tap to guard against freezing temperatures.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated spaces: If plumbing runs through the crawlspace, unfinished basement, or garage, insulate it before winter comes. In New Jersey’s cold climate, it’s wise to apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables before wrapping the plumbing in insulation as an added precaution against frozen pipes.
  • Maintain the water heater: Your water heater works hard in the winter. Help it get through the season by doing some simple maintenance, including conducting a partial flush, testing the T&P relief valve, and adjusting the temperature from 140 to 120 degrees.
  • Clean the gutters: This form of exterior plumbing guides water runoff away from the foundation to help prevent basement flooding. Once most of the trees on your property have shed their leaves, clean the gutters to ensure water flows smoothly toward the downspouts.
  • Inspect and clean the sump pump: Heavy snowfall can cause the groundwater level to rise beneath your home. Prevent basement water seepage by installing a sump pump. Then, inspect and clean this appliance every few months to ensure it’s ready to operate as intended if necessary.
  • Shut off the water when you leave home for an extended period: If you have travel plans this fall and winter, consider shutting off the main water supply. At the very least, turn the shut-off valves behind individual fixtures, such as the washing machine, ice maker, dishwasher, and toilets. If you keep the water on, set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees to prevent your pipes from freezing.

The skilled plumbers at Bob Hoegler Plumbing can help you prepare you for winter plumbing. We perform plumbing maintenance, repair, and installation to make sure your system remains reliable as the temperature drops. To learn more, or to schedule services in Monroe Township, please contact us at 732-521-0133.