When temperatures drop below freezing into the single digits, it’s important to prepare your home. Here are some essential steps to take as temperatures fall:
Protect your well water pump from the elements
Make sure your water pump is protected to minimize the risk of it freezing. If your well pump is covered by a decorative rock it may be a good idea to cover the bottom with sand, dirt, or rocks, to ensure the seal is secured and your well is insulated from the outside weather. If your well pump is inside a structure, make sure the doors are shut and cracks are sealed, to minimize cold air getting in.
Know how to shut off the water to your home
In case of emergency, you should know the location of your home’s main water shut off. Double check that you know where to turn off the water to your home, and that you have any tools you might need to do so. If you notice a leak or frozen pipes during freezing temperatures, turning off the water could prevent damage from burst pipes.
Protect your home’s pipes
If possible, keep your home warmed to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Pipes located in the walls, basement, or elsewhere, will not stay as warm as the finished areas in your home, and keeping the temperature at at least 65 degrees can help prevent frozen pipes. When temperatures drop below freezing and into the teens or single digits – especially for a few days in a row – turn on both hot and cold faucets so they can slowly drip. Allowing the water to move will help prevent freezing.
Disconnect hoses and protect spigots
Make sure to disconnect any outdoor hoses to prevent water from freezing and damaging the spigot and pipes it’s connected to. Protecting the spigot with a cover to insulate it from the weather is also a good idea.
If your pipes freeze
As soon as you notice your pipes are freezing or frozen, it’s time to take action to prevent further damage. Turn off the water to your home before attempting to clean up or repair any damage, and before you call a plumber for assistance.
Check your home’s heating
Especially if it’s the first time you’ve used a heating source this season, it’s important to make sure it works and check that any combustible materials are stored safely away from heating elements like a fireplace. When not in use, closing the chimney flue will prevent hot air from escaping.