1. Prevent frozen pipes before they start.
Best defense: insulation. Insulate exposed pipes in a crawl space or in the garage with easy-to-install plastic insulation. It’s a peel-and-stick solution. Before winter comes, remove exterior hoses, and apply insulating caps to outdoor fixtures, as a frozen exterior spigot can damage interior pipes. Households with automatic sprinkler systems can clear standing water with compressed air.
2. Learn where the main water valve is.
Teach your kids how to shut off the water main and under toilets and sinks. Everyone that is old enough to be in the house alone should know how to turn off the water. Even a ½” blow pipe can gush upwards of 10 gallons per minute if you have high pressure in your house. Having your 10 year old take care of this 15 minutes before he/she can get a neighbor to help can save you thousands of dollars. DIY Cost: Free, and could save you thousands in an emergency.
3. Service your water heater
Now is a great time to attend to your water heater, before the cold weather starts. Give your water heater a visual inspection, test out the temperature and check to make sure the on/off valve is working properly. Your water heater should also be flushed and professionally inspected annually.
4. Shut Off Outdoor Plumbing
It is common for homeowners to forget to shut off outdoor plumbing before winter. After all, fall is a busy time of year, so it’s no wonder that an outdoor spigot isn’t at the top of your to-do list. But it should be. When outdoor faucets and hoses are exposed to the cold, they run the risk of freezing and bursting. If an outdoor pipe connected to your indoor plumbing bursts, your whole house will suffer. Remember to bleed your outdoor plumbing, shut off faucets, and put away hoses for the winter. Many people also have outdoor pipes that can’t be shut off. In that case, be sure to insulate them with heat tape.