Cheap ways on how to protect outdoor water pipes for winter

As to many, winter is a time of year that brings joy and ease, the beautiful snow, the ceremonial obligations; whereas to some other people, it’s not really much of a fun time.

On either side of the aisle, or on either side of the boat (permit my half baked idioms); both sides have to find a way to survive the winter especially by not allowing it swallow you up first. I mean, it should be best seller at this point. “HOW TO DEFEAT THE MIGHTY SNOWS OF WINTER”

One of those things that need to be well acquainted before snow hits is your plumbing, and not just the internal plumbing lines, the external lines too. Well, the methods if applied well, should work for both to strong degrees.

As homeowners, or temporal owners, the plumbing to most of us seems to be a very underestimated part of the home; so we tend to ignore. I mean, what harm can water do, right?… Well, it can damage everything; just as much as fire sometimes (arguably).

The lack of preparation or constant underestimation of your plumbing lines is exactly why you need to prepare it for winter; pipes less tendered too OR pipes in constantly warm climates are more likely to get Frozen and damaged during winter than pipes that constantly tendered to OR in cooler climates.

 

 

CHEAP WAYS ON HOW TO DRAIN AND PROTECT YOUR OUTDOOR WATER PIPES FOR WINTER

 

Focus way more on the supply lines rather than the waste pipes;

Just like the human body, there are two major conveyances in plumbing, what brings in the supply and what carries away the waste. As much as the waste lines are very important, the supply lines are a little more required. What’s the point here!… in plumbing, waste lines never hold water, it’s always constantly on the move. Hence, it can’t freeze just as easily as the supply lines. Supply lines on the other hand holds water constantly from storage. Which makes it a much more liable suspect to being Frozen during winter.

 

Just as a precaution, Gauge or Empty your Septic (Waste) tank if you have one;

I know, I know, not so cheap. But wait; septic tanks aren’t so easily emptied. It takes months if not years or even a decade weirdly for one to be truly full and as I mentioned earlier, there are two major conveyances in plumbing, one of which is the waste line.

If the waste Chambers and storages are clogged up, then the waste lines become clogged up, making them more liable to freeze. Which means you also can’t supply water as they would also be clogged up if you do, and then causing a neighborhood wide disaster with your home being ground zero is a strong possibility.

 

Clear drain gates;

Not the typical drain gates, the ones inside. The sole purpose of a drain is to separate the expected waste from debris and unwanted waste. Basically, whatever can’t be broken down by the natural decomposition of natural waste is “ an unwanted waste”. Sometimes these drain gates get clogged up by the ones that manage to sneak in.

Failure to remove such waste will result in the coagulation of unwanted waste typically at the drain gate itself; which will in turn result to the stagnation of waste lines and then the freezing of such waste line.

 

Drain all outdoor pipes; remove and store all hoses used outdoors too;

It’s easy, this one. Since you’re trying to protect you pipes, just don’t expose them. For that can’t just help but be exposed, drain the water out of them and keep them dry and empty.

 

Shut off major (indoor and) outdoor control valves if you can;

Just draining pipes won’t cut it when dealing with winter, so before draining; shut off all unrequired plumbing lines from your main control valves if possible, then drain. This is absolutely optional but advised. It also depends on if your plumbing lines are well planned and structured.

 

Use pressure to force out excess water in the pipes;

It’s also best you call a licensed plumber for this one, it involves pushing the last bit of water in a pipe out through one outlet or another; it’s needless but if required. It can be done.

 

Apply aerated outlet plugs;

This is totally overkill… but if you feel you need the extra precaution against winter, then apply plugs to your outdoor outlets; it prevents the entry frost bits and prevents the freezing of the outlet’s opening but allows a healthy amount of air into the pipes.

 

 

EXPENSIVE WAYS ON HOW TO DRAIN AND PROTECT YOUR OUTDOOR WATER PIPES FOR WINTER

 

Fix and repair leakages;

As you know; Outdoor pipes are more prone to impact caused by Climatic conditions, the very existence of an opening, breakage or leakage would most likely hasten that process. Hence, by default, it’s advised to evaluate all pipes; the ones that stand singularly or the one’s connected to the internal pipes.

Any or every opening or breakage found is never too little, have them cross checked, fixed, or patched up. Winter can be unforgiving.

 

Add extra insulation;

Pipes can be fitted with foam, rubber or fiberglass sleeves to ensure its capability of withstanding the extreme cold. The insulative material in of itself is not expensive however, if the pipe is buried underneath a solid surface, it may incur the employment of a professional to help you with that.

Or you can just grab the tools you need and do it yourself BUT you have understand what you’re doing, you don’t want to punch a hole through your pipes now; that would cost some extra coins to ensure repair.

Extra insulation will only try maintain the temperature of the pipe to match the temperature of the liquid inside it; when exposed continuously to harsh Climatic conditions; it may freeze eventually.

 

Relocate exposed pipes;

Now this is an extreme measure only reserved for extreme cases, if you happen to live or stay in a place with extreme winter conditions where every other winter, you face one problem or another. OR you happen to be a person that just doesn’t want the fuss of all this trouble. Simple; Relocate all exposed pipes OR don’t install any outer piping.

You can purchase hoses and temporary plumbing systems to achieve you need outside. They can be easy replaced and displaced.

 

CONCLUSION

As they say, prevention is better than cure; keeping you home prepared for the coming winter will save you a lot of hassle, stress and worry. Especially with your plumbing system, you don’t need to spend, just do what is needed to be done and the problems are less likely to knock on your door.

 

SOURCES / REFERENCES

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/stop-freezing-pipes-2124982

https://backyardscape.com/how-to-drain-outdoor-water-pipes-for-winter/

https://www.alldryus.com/plumbing/how-to-drain-pipes-for-winter/

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm/frozen-pipes.html