Winterizing your outside tap & prepping home for cold weather

Sadly, winter is coming. And with winter comes the winterizing process for homeowners—to winterize both your outside tap or taps, and the rest of your home and plumbing.

Winterizing your Outside Tap

Burst pipes and faucet damage are just a couple of the problems that can result from not winterizing your outdoor taps. But they aren’t a necessary evil as winterizing standard outdoor taps is a relatively easy process, that should take less than half an hour and can be done in 4 easy steps:

Step 1: Find the faucets and turn off the shutoff valve for each outdoor faucet.

Step 2: Locate the inside shutoff valves and turn them off. Generally each one will have a different colour handle, making them relatively easy to locate and shut off by turning them clockwise (unless they were installed ‘wonky’). You will also need to drain the existing water in the line by removing the small drainage cap and allowing the excess water to drain into a bucket or large pot.

Step 3: Double check your work by going outside to check and see that the water is indeed off and that there is no leftover water in the pipe.

Step 4: Add an insulating cap/cover to the outdoor faucet(s) to protect the pipe against freezing. These can be picked up at any big-box hardware store.

Step 5: Remove the garden hose and store away until spring

*Note: if you have a frost-free hydrant then you will need to ensure that the hose has been removed or it can freeze and cause leaks.

Prepping your Home for Cold Weather

Prepping your home for cold weather is as easy as winterizing your outdoor taps and pipes, but includes a short list of other elements that should be checked off each year:

  • Ensure your garage door is shut tight and any gaps are filled to avoid freeze ups.
  • Winterize your irrigation system (if you have one).
  • Clean your gutters to prevent ice dams.
  • Block any leaks to your home.
  • Ensure your home and attic are properly insulated.
  • Check your furnace—ideally before you need it.
  • Ensure your ducts are clean (to avoid spreading allergens) and leak free (to avoid massive heating losses as up to 60% of heating can be lost before reaching the intended room).
  • Add an extra layer of protection to your windows if they feel drafty.
  • Wrap pipes that don’t have proper insulation.

Now that you have winterized your home you can have a happy, healthy, warm and safe winter—and enjoy all the activities that winter brings.

Be sure to stay tuned to our blog for more great seasonal homeowner tips!

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