Improper winterization of pipes, or the failure to do it at all, can cost homeowners a great deal of money from water damage if the worst happens.
Consider this – according to State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, each year about a quarter of a million homes suffer from frozen water pipes that burst and leak, causing water damage to personal property. The result is, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, payments in the past decade by all insurance companies for losses of that type have exceeded $4 billion.
The bottom line is if you own a cabin or may have a vacant house through the winter, winterizing your plumbing is important. At Sauk Plains Plumbing and Pumps we want to be sure your plumbing is ready for the chilling Middleton WI winter temperatures.
Winterization Step One – Turn Your Water Off
Ensuring your water supply is off is the first step of winterizing. Locate the main water valve controlling the water to your home or cabin and simply turn it off. If you don’t know where your shut off valve is, just go to your water meter. The shut off valve should be close. If it leaks or doesn’t shut completely, call a licensed plumber to install a new valve. Without a new valve you will have a continuing problem. With a well, drain the pressure tank.
Winterization Step Two – Open All Faucets
With the water turned off, now drain the water pipes. The quickest and easiest way is to open all inside and outside faucets and flush toilets until empty. All plastic and rubber supply lines leading to appliances, etc. do become brittle and break over time. Drain them completely as well. To protect drain traps, use RV antifreeze solution in them. Follow the container instructions.
Winterization Step Three – Empty Your Water Heater
Set the thermostat to the “off” or “pilot” with gas water heaters. With electric water heaters, turn off the power at the breaker box. Next, close the cold water supply line valve (usually on the top of the water heater). Turn the valve clockwise. This prevents fresh water from flowing into the tank while draining. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve on the bottom of the water heater and open the drain valve. Be sure your hose is directed into a drain or outside. (Step by step draining instructions)
Winterization Step Four – Septic Tank Preparation
A best practice is to have your septic tank pumped out regularly and maintained. The frequency depends on volume of use. In winterizing a septic tank, the best practice is to have the tank drained. After draining, place an insulating layer of straw or leaves on top of the septic area to prevent freezing.
Winterization Step Five – Insulate Your Pipes Where Possible In Middleton WI
During winter, having your pipes insulated is important (whether you are a snowbird vacating your home or not). By insulating your pipes, the water in your pipes stays warmer longer. This helps prevent freezing when low temperatures arrive and saves energy. Clean the pipes well before insulating and be sure the insulation is covered completely and securely attached.
Winterization Step Six – Winterizing Plumbing Can Save $$$
Winterizing to prevent frozen pipes can save you thousands of dollars. Even very small leaks can be devastating. Consider that a 1/8 inch crack in a pipe can allow over 250 gallons of water to leak daily. This volume of water can destroy floors, furniture, appliances and personal items, according to IBHS. Imagine the number of days a leak run can before it is discovered and stopped.
If you are leaving you home vacant for a period of time, this is a huge reason for winterizing your home. Most homeowner insurance policies don’t cover homes when they are vacant. If you visit warmer climates or are going on a long trip, a professional plumber doing your winterizing can be an invaluable investment.
Winterization of your home to avoid frozen pipes is an important maintenance step. Sauk Plains Plumbing and Pumps can assist with winterization and is expert at pipe insulation to avoid frozen pipes as well as all other plumbing maintenance. We can help with winterization of your home in Middleton WI, Cross Plains WI, Waunakee, Madison, Black Earth, Mount Horeb, Verona and Fitchburg WI.
Call Sauk Plains Plumbing and Pumps at 608-798-2121 or email us for more information about winterization in Middleton WI.