The autumn weather change is the perfect time to prepare a home’s plumbing for winter, as the the cold season can arrive without warning. Frozen pipes account for around 30,000 insurance claims per year, which are completely preventable with a small time investment or an appointment with a plumber, such as Alvarez Plumbing in Salinas. It is recommended that homeowners in northern states finish winterizing plumbing by late October, while those farther south can wait until late November. The following tips can help prevent winter plumbing problems.

Put Away Hoses

Water hoses should be disconnected from faucets, drained and put away in the winter. If this is not done, the water inside the hoses can freeze and cause expansion of both faucets and other water pipes, causing them to burst.

Repair Outdoor Faucets

Exterior faucets that leak or drip should be repaired before subzero weather arrives. A plumber can do this job quickly.

Close Shut-Off Valves

Some homes have convenient indoor valves that control outdoor faucets. The valves should be closed and the water pipes completely drained before the start of winter.

Cover Up Exterior Faucets

Covering outdoor faucets prevents damage from freezing temperatures. There are special faucet insulation kits for this purpose.

Insulate Pipes

Any pipes located in unheated areas of a home should be insulated to prevent freezing. This can be done by using heat cables with thermostats or by applying heat tape.

Check the Furnace

A home’s furnace should always have its temperature set at 55 degrees. This prevents water pipes from freezing, which leads to increased pressure and the development of cracks. Even the smallest of cracks can cause hundreds of gallons of water to flood a home. This is true of any pipe, whether it is made of steel, copper or plastic.

Check the Water Heater

Water heaters carry extra workload during the cold weather. All accumulated sediment should be drained out of the tank to increase the unit’s efficiency, and the temperature should be set to 120 degrees. This will help keep winter energy costs down.

Clean the Gutters

Gutters are still important during winter and should be cleared of branches, leaves or any other debris before winter sets in. This will encourage rain and snow to drain properly and not become a tangled, frozen mess.

Inspect the Sump Pump and Pit

No one wants a flooded basement, so checking the sump pump and its pit should be on every homeowner’s winter agenda. The sump pit should be cleaned of any accumulated debris or rocks, then tested with a bucket of water. The pump should turn on, remove the water, then turn off to ensure proper operation.

Winterizing a home’s plumbing is a relatively easy task that can be done in a weekend, whether by the homeowner or the professionals at Alvarez Plumbing in Salinas, California. The experienced crew at Alvarez is always available to answer questions and quickly repair any major plumbing problem.