Top Winter Plumbing Tips

Freezing winter weather can cause problems for a home’s plumbing and heating systems. Frozen pipes or a broken water heater are two of homeowners’ most significant concerns in the winter season. Follow these winter tips to keep plumbing and heating systems operating smoothly all winter.

Avoid frozen pipes

Frozen pipes occur when ice develops around the pipe, preventing water flow, and are one of the most common winter plumbing repairs; however, this problem is easily avoided. Let lukewarm water drip from the faucets whenever the outside temperature drops below freezing, as moving water can’t freeze. While this may slightly increase the water bill, it’s much cheaper than repairing frozen pipes.

Additionally, seal air leaks to keep cold air from traveling around the pipes, as these leaks are one of the most common causes of frozen pipes. Wrapping pipes in heat tape or heat-controlling cables can also stabilize temperatures throughout the year and prevent frozen pipes.

Thorough insulation

Thorough insulation is beneficial for both the plumbing and heating systems. Keep the thermostat at least 55 degrees, even when no one is home. This ensures that the home is too warm for the pipes to freeze. Adequate insulation is crucial, as this ensures that the heat doesn’t escape the home, so the heating system doesn’t have to work as hard, ultimately saving on heating costs and preventing expensive plumbing damages.

Water Heater Care

The demand for hot water increases during winter, putting additional pressure on your water heater. To avoid the inconvenience of a malfunctioning water heater when you most need it, ensure it’s set to the optimal temperature, usually around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This setting is efficient for providing hot water while also being energy-saving. Additionally, flushing the tank to remove sediment buildup can extend the life of your heater and improve its efficiency.

Protect Your Outdoor Plumbing

Outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems are particularly vulnerable to freezing temperatures. To prevent damage, disconnect, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Shut off the water supply to outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems, and drain them to avoid water freezing inside, which can lead to pipes bursting.

Keep Your Home Warm

A warm home is a deterrent against frozen pipes. Open cabinet doors under sinks and where pipes are present to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if the pipes are in exterior walls. This simple act can prevent the water inside from freezing.

Emergency Preparedness

Despite all precautions, emergencies can happen. Familiarize yourself with the main water shut-off valve’s location and how to operate it. Quick action to turn off the water can minimize damage from a burst pipe. Keep the contact information of a trusted professional plumber handy for emergencies.

Invest in a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat can be a wise investment for your home’s plumbing and heating systems. These devices allow you to control your home’s temperature remotely, ensuring that the heating system operates optimally even when you’re away. Many models can alert you if the indoor temperature drops below a set level, offering an additional layer of protection against frozen pipes.


By following these tips, you not only protect your plumbing and heating systems from the harsh winter but also ensure your home remains a warm, inviting space throughout the season. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and taking these steps can save you from the inconvenience and expense of winter-related plumbing problems. Stay warm, stay safe, and remember, your local professional plumber is ready to assist with any winter plumbing needs.

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