Heading South for the Winter? Winterize Your Home’s Plumbing First

The temperature is steadily dropping here in Monroe Township. Another wet, Central New Jersey winter is clearly on its way. Do you prefer to spend the colder months in warmer climes? We don’t blame you! Still, it’s important to protect your plumbing before you head south for the winter.

Turn Off the Water Supply to Protect Your Pipes

A frozen pipe is one of the worst things that can happen while you’re out of town. Since no one is home to spot the problem, a frozen pipe may burst and leak for days or longer, causing significant water damage in the process.

Your safest bet is to turn off the water completely at the main shut-off valve. After doing so, drain the pipes of water by opening all faucets, flushing the toilets, and draining the water heater. To prevent any residual water from freezing, consider pouring non-toxic antifreeze into the toilet tanks and bowls.

If you’re unsure that you can complete these steps properly, hire a plumber for help. This licensed professional can give you peace of mind that your plumbing is fully protected during your extended absence.

Prevent Frozen Pipes if You Keep the Water Supply On

There are several scenarios where it might be best to keep the water on. For instance, if you have an old steam heating season, it might not be safe to turn off the water supply. It might also be best to keep the water on if you arrange a house sitter. Make sure the water supply to your fire sprinkler system remains intact as well.

To protect your pipes from freezing with the water supply on, follow these steps:

  • Set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.
  • Keep doors and under-sink cabinets open to help circulate heat to these areas.
  • Wrap all pipes located in unheated areas—such as the crawlspace, unfinished basement, garage, or attic—with insulation.
  • Turn the shut-off valves leading to individual fixtures, such as the washing machine, dishwasher, toilets, water heater, and outdoor spigots.
  • Drain the water heater and turn off its heat source.
  • Disconnect and store garden hoses.

Set Up Emergency Notifications

While the above efforts should prevent an incident while you’re gone all winter, it could be beneficial to install a flow monitor on your main water supply pipe and water sensors behind toilets, under sinks, and next to your water heater. Then, if water starts leaking into your home or flowing through pipes unexpectedly, you will receive a notification on your smartphone. This gives you a chance to call someone locally who can check on your home before extensive damage occurs.

Bob Hoegler Plumbing can help you winterize your plumbing to prevent burst pipes and water damage. We can also serve as your emergency plumber if water damage ever occurs in your home. To learn more, or to schedule services, please contact our Monroe Township plumber at 732-521-0133.