In Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin, winter is the most dangerous time of year for your home’s plumbing and fixtures. Freezing temperatures can cause burst pipes and severe water damage. Follow our tips below to avoid problems this winter.
On the inside of your home:
- Insulate water pipes which may be exposed to freezing temperatures or wind. Pipes in your basement or garage are especially vulnerable to freezing and should be insulated. Do-it-yourself pipe insulation is available at most hardware stores.
- To prevent freezing of your faucets, leave the cabinet doors under faucets open so that they can get a bit more heat.
- On extremely cold days, let the water trickle very slowly into the sink. It is not necessary to open the faucet fully; a very slight trickle is sufficient.
Don’t forget about your outside faucets either:
- Detach your garden hoses from all outside faucets before freezing.
- Close the interior shut-off valve on the pipes leading to your outdoor faucets.
- After closing the shut-off valve, open the faucets so that any water can drain.
- Consider replacing old outdoor faucets with freeze-proof hose bibbs (another name for outside water faucets).
What to do if your pipes or faucets do freeze:
- Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve.
- Leave the faucets on so that pressure is relieved as the ice melts.
- Use a blow dryer or heat gun to thaw pipes that are frozen.
- DO NOT USE A BLOW TORCH TO THAW YOUR PIPES!
Watch out for guests and big holiday meals:
- Big holidays meals create grease and food that make their way down into your kitchen pipes. Avoid pouring fat or grease down the drain because the fats solidify in the pipes and create clogs.
- Avoid putting fibrous waste such as celery, poultry skins, pumpkin pulp or banana peels into your garbage disposal. The disposal can’t grind these items sufficiently, and they will clog your sink.
- Run cold water down the drain 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposal.
- Run your dishwasher or washing machine at night to conserve water temperature and pressure for guests.