Each year, winter seems to creep up on us before we are prepared. Since pipes run behind your walls and under your floors to faucets, toilets, showers, and many appliances, it is good to take a few extra steps to keep them running smoothly through the winter months. The following tips will help you get ready for the inevitable cold weather that is heading our way.

1. Disconnect any outdoor hoses and spigots.
Most importantly, drain the water from each item. It only takes one overnight hard freeze to cause a burst.

2. If you have areas that are unheated, make sure to wrap those pipes.
These areas might be in a garage or crawl space that the heat cannot reach. Before the temperatures get too low, head to the hardware store for wrapping materials and Styrofoam faucet covers.

3. Seal off access doors, air vents, and cracks.
Those frosty winds seem to find every crack and open space. They can quickly freeze exposed water pipes, so seal those areas. However, make sure not to seal needed air vents that your furnace or water heater need for good combustion.

4. Do you know where your main water shut-off valve is?
Now is the time to locate this plumbing necessity so you can quickly turn it off in an emergency. Familiarizing yourself with not only where it is, but how to turn it off, could limit damage should a pipe freeze or burst. The valve is usually in your basement or outside in the front of your property.

5. If you are going to be away for a long period of time, turn off your water.
If you set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees, your home should stay warm enough that the pipes won’t freeze. If you reduce your heat lower, consider turning the water off and opening all the faucets on the property to drain them.

Taking these steps now will help you avoid water pipes bursting which may be challenging to clean up and also costly.