Winter is coming! Gainesville and the surrounding areas are expecting their first freeze this weekend. Do you know what to do? First, remember to bring people, pets, and plants indoors. Now, how to protect your pipes from bursting during a freeze? Follow these simple guidelines:
Outdoor Water Lines
1. Protect all exposed outdoor water lines — including shut-off valves, outside water faucet hose bibs, water lines for water softeners and other water treatment equipment, pool equipment and/or sprinkler irrigation — to prevent back flow. ALL valves need to be completely protected, not just the water piping! You can use foam wrap, a blanket, a towel, or insulation tape.
2. Insulate both hot and cold water pipes. Hot water supply lines can freeze as fast as a cold water supply line if water is not running.
Pump House & Garage
3. A light bulb burning during the freeze in your pump house or exterior closet can furnish enough heat to protect water equipment from a typical freeze.
4. Keep garage doors closed tightly if there are water supply lines in the garage. Or cover the pipes with a blanket or a towel.
In Your Home
5. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors and all other cabinet areas that are located on exterior walls, to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to take all child safety measures that are necessary in your home. For example, put away cleaning compounds and any other items you would not want your little ones getting a hold of.
6. During cold snaps, do not alternate temperature settings on your thermostat. Keeping your thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night will help to keep pipe temperatures consistent. If you are leaving for an extended period of time, set your thermostats no lower than 60F.
7. Open the attic access doors or stairs to allow warm air to circulate up to the water pipes in the attic.
Above Ground Pipes (Pool)
8. To keep your back-flow preventer from freezing, shut off the incoming valve and both test ports and insulate the above ground pipes.
9. To keep your pool filters, pumps, and pipes from freezing, run your pool equipment during the freeze. Change your timers to run the pool equipment at night and keep the equipment running if freezing temperatures continue into the day.
Stay warm and enjoy the start of winter!