Preparing Your Plumbing System for Winter

Winter with Dad

The average wintertime low in San Jose may be in the mid-40s, but that doesn’t mean it can’t dip below freezing sometimes. Make sure your plumbing is ready for colder temperatures with these tips to prepare your plumbing for winter.

  1. Insulate exposed pipes: Contrary to popular belief, mild climates like the South Bay area can be more at risk for frozen pipes than many harsher regions because pipes are often left exposed. This makes them vulnerable to freezing on those rare nights when the temperature drops below freezing. To prevent this, insulate exposed pipes running along exterior walls, through unconditioned spaces, and outside.
  2. Winterize exterior faucets: The hose bibs on the outside of your house are also at risk when winter weather sets in. To protect them, disconnect your garden hoses, shut off the water to the spigots, and insulate them with polystyrene covers.
  3. Seal and insulate: Do you have pipes in your garage, crawlspace, or another unconditioned space? Sealing and insulating these areas can protect your plumbing from freezing temperatures. Consider running a space heater near exposed pipes during cold spells to keep them from freezing.
  4. Fix plumbing leaks without delay: No matter the time of year, plumbing leaks increase your utility expenses and raise the risk of water damage. The fact that water expands when frozen can make plumbing leaks especially detrimental in the winter. So if you run across any leaks while preparing your plumbing for cold weather, have them repaired immediately.
  5. Service your water heater: This appliance works harder when it’s cold outside. Get your water heater ready for winter by performing a mini-flush to remove sediment from the bottom of the tank. Then, insulate the pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the tap. Check the anode rod for wear and tear as well. If you need help with these tasks, call a plumber.
  6. Protect your plumbing when you leave town: If you have winter travel plans, make sure you don’t come home to a frozen or burst pipe by setting the furnace to 60 degrees or higher. You may even want to turn the main water shut-off valve for extra peace of mind.
  7. Protect your plumbing on cold nights: If the forecast calls for sustained sub-freezing temperatures, open sink cabinet doors to circulate warm air around the pipes. You can also keep faucets with vulnerable piping on a slow drip, which prevents pressure buildup that may cause a frozen pipe to burst.

For help preparing your plumbing system for winter, turn to Mike Counsil Plumbing. Our dedicated team of plumbing technicians provides a full range of plumbing services to homeowners in San Jose and the surrounding South Bay area. We know the plumbing needs of our region, so we can help you avoid inconvenient or costly problems this winter. For more information about our services or to schedule a visit, please call us at 408-916-1226 or contact us online.

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As a Family owned and operated company we service all plumbing needs in San Jose, California and the South Bay.