GREENWOOD, Ind (WEHT) – With much colder weather across the state in the forecast, Indiana American Water is urging homeowners to act now to protect their plumbing system against the extreme cold. When ice expands inside pipes, it can crack and burst them, leaving homeowners with a costly plumbing bill, and thousands of dollars in water damage.
These problems can be prevented by taking certain precautions. Implementing the following winterization tips now can help avoid headaches later:
- Search your house for uninsulated pipes, especially in unheated areas. Consider wrapping pipes with foam insulation or electric heating tape but follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.
- Check to make sure your garage door and crawl space doors/vents are closed.
- Leave cabinet doors open in kitchen and bathroom areas to allow warm air to circulate and consider letting a faucet drip to keep water moving through the pipes. If you have young children, relocate any chemicals of cleaners that may have otherwise been out of reach behind the cabinet doors.
- Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations with caulking, especially where cable TV or phone lines enter the house, to keep cold air away from pipes.
- Make certain the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), the lines are drained, and the hose is disconnected from the spigot.
- Drain and shut off entirely the water to any unoccupied residence such as a summer or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could cause pipes to freeze. If you intend to leave a property entirely without heat, be sure to drain all water to prevent the possibility of frozen pipes.
- Set the thermostat at no lower than 55 degrees if you’re going out of town. Although you may be able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is generally considered to be safe for pipes.
- Make sure you know where your main water shut-off valve is in case you need to shut your water off it in an emergency.
- Consider wrapping your water heater in an insulation blanket. While not really at danger for freezing, this can lower your heating bills.
People are also encouraged to keep fire hydrants clear near their homes after snow accumulates. This small step can save precious time if firefighters need to access it in an emergency. Remove snow and ice within a 3-foot perimeter of the hydrant and shovel a pathway from the hydrant to the street.
For more tips, visit Wise Water Use.
(This story was originally published on February 5, 2021)