How To Winterize Your Home

As the temperatures drop outside, make sure to prepare your home and pipes for winter.

Preparing your home for winter can be affordable and easy. Doing it now means your pipes won’t burst once Minnesota’s deep freeze sets in.

Winterize your outside hose faucets

1. Turn off outside water line (usually found in basement ceiling or near water meter).

2. Go outside and remove garden hose. Turn faucet on, leave open all winter.

3. Back inside, open drain cap on same valve releasing vacuum and allowing water to drain to the outside or to the cap. Do this to empty the pipe so the water doesn’t freeze in the pipe.

4. Put cap back on loosely so it doesn’t get lost over the winter.

Tools: Bucket to catch water, pliers. Best to do this before Halloween in the Minneapolis area.

Prepare irrigation system for winter

Have a professional out to clean RPZ (reduce pressure zone) valves for irrigation, boilers and other commercial equipment before winter. Many cities require proof this was done.

When the forecast temperature goes to -10 degrees, kick up the thermostat to prevent the pipes from freezing. It’s more common in new construction homes to have the pipes freeze. Keep it at 68 degrees. Remember, if you’re chilly in the house, the pipes are feeling that chill as well. Keep this in mind if you leave for a winter vacation. It’s also wise to have a friend or neighbor stop in and check on things.

Water heater maintenance

General guidelines say when you have your furnace checked, check your water heater, too, but Air Lake Plumbing has a different strategy. Generally speaking, don’t touch your water heater until you’re having problems and then, call a professional. Stirring up sediment can lead to leaks. Valves are not designed to reseal over and over, so draining it monthly is not recommended. If it’s working fine, leave it alone. After about 15 years, think about replacing your water heater. At 20 years, you’re on borrowed time, but even high quality water heaters can fail within 10 years. Air Lake Plumbing recommends Rheem water heaters.

Insulate pipes

To prevent dripping from condensation, insulate your pipes – both hot and cold – in high humidity areas. You can easily buy these sleeves at home improvement stores, like Menard’s. Insulate cold lines from the water meter to outside hose faucets. If your pipes are in a wall or ceiling, where air doesn’t circulate – insulating isn’t as important.

Fireplaces and broilers

Get ready to keep your place warm and cozy with by having gas lines checked, if you have concern. Hearth & Home Technologies, of Lakeville, makes excellent gas fireplace products.