Winter is coming, and that means it’s time to weather-proof your home and plumbing from the inside out. From garden hoses and gutters to windows and exposed pipes, we want your home to be prepared for storms and freezing temps. Here are 8 things you can easily do before winter arrives.

How to Winterize Your Home and plumbing in 8 Easy Steps

  • Turn off water to outdoor faucets and disconnect hoses.

Did you know that outdoor garden hoses can freeze and burst when temperatures drop below freezing? Even frost-proof faucets can freeze if the hose is attached, and water is trapped in the facuet. In addition to disconnecting your hoses, you’ll want to completely turn off the water to your outdoor faucets through your home’s shut-off valves, if your home is so equipped. After turning off the valves, open your outdoor faucets to ensure all the water has drained out. We recommend leaving it open all winter to be safe.

  • Check all windows and doors for air leaks.

Windows and doors that aren’t sealed properly can let air in from the outside, causing your heating bill to spike. Don’t let that happen! Inspect the doors and windows (especially in the basement) for gaps and air leaks. If the window or door is loose or you can see light coming through the gap, this means it isn’t sealed properly. It is very likely that your weather stripping and/or caulk has deteriorated. Replace the weather stripping and recaulk around the window or door to ensure a proper seal.

  • Clean sump pump basins and check pump operation.

Watching the seasons change in Cincinnati is a beautiful sight. But the changing tree colors and crisp snow also means the potential for heavy rain or snow that can lead to flooding. Follow these easy steps to make sure your sump pump is ready for action:
1. Clean out the pit (crock) and remove any debris in the pit.
2. Check the float to ensure it is operating properly.
3. Inspect the discharge pipe on the outside of the home for proper support and good connection.
4. Make sure the pipe has no obstructions so the water can flow freely away from the house. This is very important since the sump pump can prematurely wear out if the water discharges near the house and flows back into the sump pit.

  • Remove lawn sprinkler backflow preventer and store inside.

If your backflow preventer was installed with unions, you can easily remove the backflow preventer and store it inside for the winter. Doing this yourself is easier than you think. Check out this short tutorial video from 2 Minute Garden Tips to get started.

  • Clean gutters and check downspouts to ensure they are free from blockages.

Do you love the sight of icicles on your gutters after a snow or ice storm? As beautiful as they are to look at, icicles are actually a sign of clogged gutters that can cause water
damage to your home. To prevent those beautiful icicles from forming, clean out your gutters by removing all leaves and debris. Check the downspout to make sure it is also not clogged. A few ways to know if your downspout is clogged is to look for water stains or pooling around the downspout or overflowing gutters. If a clog exists, remove all debris from the downspout and then position the downspout so it is pointing away from the house.

  • Check garage doors and other areas for air leakage.

The garage may be the catch-all for household clutter, but it shouldn’t be overlooked when preparing for winter. Hidden pipes above the garage ceiling can be susceptible to freezing if the garage doors are not sealed properly. Check the perimeter of your garage door for gaps and air leaks. If leaks are found, this can be easily fixed by adding weather stripping to the top and sides of the garage door. If you have other unheated areas in your home, check those for air leaks and gaps as well. Seal and insulate these areas as needed.

  • Adjust your water heater temperature and faucet valves.

Have you ever noticed that your shower isn’t quite as hot as you like it in the winter? When outdoor temperatures drop, the temperature of the underground water lines leading into your home drop as well. This means the water going into your shower faucet is also colder – which leads to cooler showers. Fixing it is easy! You can easily adjust the valve on your shower yourself. Click on Delta or Moen to watch an easy tutorial based on your shower valve brand. To adjust the temperature on your water heater, refer to your owner’s manual for the appropriate instructions and temperature guidelines.

  • Insulate any exposed pipes in the garage or other unheated areas.

If your garage or other unheated areas in your home have exposed pipes, you will want to make sure they are covered with pipe insulation to prevent freezing. Check out this tutorial video from Home Depot on how to wrap your pipes with insulation, and which insulation to choose for your exposed pipes.

While this list is for the avid DIY’er, Blue Chip Plumbing is always happy to help with any of your winterization needs. Contact us here or give us a call today at (513) 999-6820 if you need assistance, or to get a free quote on any of our plumbing services.

Get quality plumbing services without overspending. Our team at Blue Chip Plumbing offers professional repairs at fair prices in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas – (513) 999-6820.