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Start Preparing Your Pipes for Winter This Fall to Prevent Freezing

People often underestimate the destructive potential of water. While truly
essential to life on the planet, if left to its own devices, water can
wreak considerable havoc upon your plumbing system in its frozen form.
There are a few things homeowners should do before winter arrives to
minimize the risk of disaster: start preparing your pipes early and

compare homeowners insurance

to find the best policy in case you need to submit a claim down the line.

Insulate Pipes

If you’re anticipating temperatures below

20 degrees Fahrenheit

, you’ll definitely want to insulate your pipes. Taking stock of your
plumbing system, anticipate which pipes are most likely to freeze. In most
cases, your efforts should be concentrated on runs traversing the unheated
areas of your home. To be certain you have enough insulation, measure the
diameter of the pipes as well as the length you’ll need to cover. Add a
layer of heat tape to give pipes an extra measure of protection before
wrapping them with the insulating material. Do this for your drainpipes as

Let Faucets Trickle

A steady dribble of water will reduce the pressure capable of accumulating
should freezing occur despite your insulating efforts. Even if the pipe
freezes, the potential for bursting is reduced. This is a must-do if your
home loses power during the winter and your heating system is compromised.

Expose Pipes to Ambient Heat

Wherever possible, introduce

ambient heat

to your plumbing system. Leave cabinets under sinks open during the night
so warm air in the house can afford your pipes a measure of protection. Pay
particular attention to those located along exterior walls, as the cold can
creep through from the outside to freeze the water in the system.

Fill Cracks

Cracks/openings in exterior walls give cold air a way to invade your home,
find your pipes and freeze the water inside them. Spray-foam insulation and
caulking are your best friends here—until you can implement a more
permanent repair. Examine your walls and foundation before winter
carefully; even the tiniest crack can be enough to allow damaging cold air
to enter.

Seal Crawlspaces

Old Man Winter likes crawlspaces. If you’ll recall your

elementary physics

, cold air settles and warm air rises. This makes the crawlspace beneath
your home particularly attractive to cold air and the pipes within
particularly vulnerable. If your crawl space is ventilated like most, the
vents should be covered during winter with thick cardboard, plus duct tape
to hold it in place. The access point should be sealed and insulated as
well. If your home has a basement, inspect its windows carefully for cracks
and ensure weather-stripping is intact so it can keep cold air out.

Acting on these five tips in the fall and early winter should put you well
ahead of the coldest weather and provide your plumbing protection against

If you ever do experience a home plumbing disaster, insurance can help
mitigate the financial damage. Compare
homeowners insurance today with CoverHound to find the best policy!

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