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From the LI Water Conference: December 22, 2011

Avoid Winter Damage to Household Water Systems By Following These Simple Steps

Don’t let the unseasonably warm weather fool you. Winter is coming soon, and things are going to get frosty before you know it! Cold weather can cause serious problems for household water pipes and sprinkler systems. Each winter, your pipes can freeze and possibly burst, potentially costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. While these issues affect many homeowners each year, there are a variety of quick, easy steps that you can take to protect your home from water-related damage and unnecessary expenses during the winter months.

In order to avoid damaging pipes, sprinkler systems should be winterized before the temperature dips below freezing. Make sure to drain and turn off your sprinkler system before the start of the winter season. Also be sure to drain outside faucets and turn off all other outside water sources to prevent freezing and breaks. Additionally, check your water meter pit cover to ensure that it is intact and firmly bolted down. Shutting off and draining all water service lines to unheated structures until spring will prevent breaks to these lines.

Indoor maintenance is another important aspect of preparing your home’s water lines for the cold weather. If your water service is located in a rarely accessed area, like the boiler room or basement, thoroughly search the area for broken windows or drafts since brisk winds and icy temperatures can cause pipes and water meters to freeze and break.

Be sure to note the location of the main water shutoff valve so that you can respond quickly in case of an emergency. Also check that pipes in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and storage rooms, are adequately insulated. Water pipes are often located in these poorly heated areas, and it is important to make sure that they are properly maintained before any complications arise.

Performing these simple steps before the start of the winter season will ensure that your home will be protected from costly damage caused by freezing temperatures, such as expensive repairs and inefficient plumbing. If you have any problems or additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your local water provider.

With a minimal effort, you can potentially save yourself a great deal of time, money, and stress this winter. Take the right precautions and sleep soundly knowing that the repairman won’t be paying you a visit for the holidays this year!