Air pipes

Here’s how to protect your pipes and water supply this winter

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – As winter arrives, you’re probably stocking up on warm clothes and making your holiday shopping list. But do you think about your pipes? Well, the owner has some useful tips to keep your water supply safe this winter.

Frozen pipes are a common winter problem for homeowners because water expands when it freezes. This expansion can cause pipes to burst, creating costly and even dangerous damage.

If you have a well or plumbing system for your home that is built above ground or above the freeze line, you are particularly at risk of your water supply freezing.

Here are some of the tips you can follow to keep your home and wallet safe during the colder months:

  • Have a certified contractor do a general inspector of your pipes to spot problems as early as possible.
  • If you have pipes that run through unheated spaces like basements, you can insulate your pipes with rubber boot or fiberglass insulation.
  • Test the water quality of your well, especially if you have experienced flooding and rain in the summer. You should generally test your well water quality once a year.
  • If you have an above ground piping system, consider having a contractor build a small insulated enclosure to cover your water pump. This enclosure should help keep the system above 32 degrees and thus reduce the risk of freezing and other damage.
  • You may want to shut off your water completely if you are planning a trip or time away from home. Check to see if your home has a shutoff valve for its outdoor water supply. After the power is off, drain the remaining water or use an air compressor to blow out the pipes. If you don’t have a shutoff valve, contact a local contractor for your options.
  • Always have a portable gas generator and plenty of gas on hand to connect to your pumping system in the event of a power outage. You can also contact a contractor to inquire about standby generators.
  • Also stock up on bottled water in case your electricity goes out for a long time.