Many regions throughout North America have enjoyed a warmer than average winter so far, but there’s no telling if the recent trend will hold. Until spring begins in earnest, it’s important to be prepared for the worst winter weather Mother Nature can dish out.
When it comes to winter storm preparedness, your primary concern should be your health and safety. But there are also some concerns that apply specifically to your home plumbing system, and you should take proactive steps to avoid one of the biggest plumbing nightmares of them all: frozen pipes. If this happens, your water will not only stop flowing -- your pipes may burst and leave you in need of major repairs.
If sub-freezing temperatures and harsh conditions are on the way, be sure to insulate any pipes that extend outside the heated areas of your home. Hardware stores sell foam sheaths and heated plumbing tape designed specifically for this purpose. In other areas that receive some heat but aren’t completely climate controlled, like basements and attics, you can often get by with just a little newspaper wrapped around the pipes.
If you have an electric furnace, you should keep extra insulating materials on hand just in case you lose power to your home. During a prolonged power outage in cold enough temperatures, it’s possible that your interior plumbing pipes could also freeze -- though this is an extreme scenario.
There’s a lot more to preparedness than just warming up your pipes, of course. While the severe weather is still at bay, take some time to consider these tips and make preparations now: