Despite the recent spell of unseasonably warm weather in the DC area, winter is definitely around the corner – and with it, the potential for plumbing problems that accompany cold weather.
Here are a few helpful tips for preparing your plumbing for the inevitable chill – and for preventing issues as best as you possibly can.
Check your outside walls for cracks or holes. A relatively inexpensive preventative measure, like caulking any holes in your outside walls, can potentially avoid a much more expensive fix (like repairing a burst pipe).
Clean your gutters. Falling leaves lead to blocked gutters – which, in turn, can lead to drainage problems. Make sure your gutters are free of leaves and other debris.
Close your garage door. Don’t let the cold air pass through your garage, and seep into the walls between the garage and your house (and potentially freeze the pipes that likely reside in them). Which leads to the next tip…
Insulate your unheated-area pipes. If there are pipes within the walls between your garage and your house, make sure they’re insulated. It might not seem that cold in your garage, but it can get pretty chilly between those walls.
Let (just a little bit of) water drip. This might seem counterintuitive – after all, who wants their faucets to drip? – but letting a very small amount of water run through your pipes when the weather is especially cold is a good way to keep pressure from building up between your faucet and ice blockages. This should be done only with faucets that are exposed to colder temperatures, and only sparingly, when the weather really warrants it, to avoid water waste.