At Comfort Systems in Wichita, KS, we see firsthand the high costs, damages, stress, and frustration that come from residential customers who forgot to winterize their plumbing. Burst pipes can wreak havoc throughout your home and lead to extensive structural damage. If not addressed immediately, mold and mildew can form until you’re faced with even higher costs for mold and mildew remediation. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

In Wichita, KS, lows can get to 22 or 25 Fahrenheit, which is well past the freezing temperature. Not winterizing your home risks encountering endless plumbing repairs, high costs, and the inconvenience of not being able to use certain rooms in your house. To avoid this outcome, here is the ultimate checklist for winterizing your plumbing.

1. Drain and Shut off Outside Hoses

This first tip is easy. The next time you find yourself raking leaves and doing yard work in the fall, take a couple of minutes to disconnect, drain, and shut off your outside hoses. For some homes, there’s a valve devoted to the outside faucets. Start by disconnecting the hoses and then drain the faucets. It’s also a good idea to install faucet covers. Once done, you can turn off the valve.

2. Identify Exposed Pipes and Use Insulation

Given that the coldest part of your house is your basement, you’ll want to identify any exposed pipes and then insulate them. You can use shielding insulation, or foam tubing, or purchase an insulation kit from any hardware store. If you choose to go with foam, then be sure to wrap the foam with insulated pipe wrap. However, don’t just focus on your basement. There may be some exposed pipes in your attic, garage, other parts of your home, and in crawl spaces.

3. Free Up Drains

Make sure to clear drains before winter. A clogged drain can quickly accumulate water and freeze. However, don’t just focus on the obvious drains like the ones in your kitchen or bathroom. There’s always one part of your house that is rarely used. It could be a bathroom in the basement or a sink in your garage. Make a list of all your drains and ensure they’re unclogged.

  • Close Air Leaks and Check Weatherstripping

Small cracks in your walls, grouting, or stucco can quickly become a source of freezing air. After insulating your pipes and unclogging all your drains, take the time to identify any air leaks. Look for signs of cracks along the wall. You should be able to identify drafts where the airflow is strongest.

Check the condition of the weatherstripping around doors and windows throughout your house. These liners are on the outward-facing sides of doors and windows. They keep cold air out and warm air in. Checking that there are no cracks – and replacing the liners if needed – will help lower your electricity bills while helping to avoid freezing pipes.

4. Extra Steps During a Vacation

For some residents in Wichita, the winters can be unbearable. This is when many decide to take off for a vacation. However, this is also the period when your plumbing is most susceptible to freezing. The last thing you want is to go away to relax, only to come home to a house with freezing pipes. Here are some things to make sure that doesn’t happen.

  • Turn on the Heat

Turning your heat on to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (just above freezing) throughout your home is a simple way to guard against frozen pipes.

  • Leave Cabinet Doors Open

Make sure all cabinet doors below sinks in your bathroom and kitchen are open so that the warm air can reach the pipes.

  • Drain Lines and Shut Off Water Supply

Draining your plumbing lines and shutting off your water supply afterward ensures that no remaining water will freeze while you’re away.

Trust Comfort Systems for All Your Plumbing Needs

With over 100 years of combined experience and a staff of fully licensed master plumbers, Comfort Systems has quickly established itself as the go-to plumbing resource for Wichita residents. Available 365 days a year and offering urgent, 24/7 service, there’s nothing our seasoned master plumbers can’t handle.

If you need help winterizing your home and want to deal with plumbing experts you can trust, contact us now.