Getting your home ready for winter
Recommendations from Indiana American Water to get your home ready for the winter:
Before cold weather sets in:
- Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
- Search for pipes that are not insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces such as crawlspaces, basements or garages. Wrap them with pipe insulation available at hardware stores.
- If you have heat tape installed on exposed pipes, you need to check it to make sure it is still operational. Inspect the tape for cracks or fraying. Make sure it is installed according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Make sure everyone in your household knows where your main water shut-off valve is. Check shut-off valve annually to make sure it is working properly. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
- Make sure the water to your outdoor faucets is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that lines are drained.
- To save wear and tear on your cooling system, drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes and check for excess water pooled in equipment. If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly. Close them when water appears.
- Keep water heater temperature around 120 degrees and install inexpensive low-flow shower heads to reduce hot water use. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees would reduce water heating costs by 6 to 10 percent.
- Turn off and drain irrigation systems.
- If no one will be home for an extended period of time during extreme winter weather, you should consider turning your main valve off altogether and hiring a plumber to drain your system. That way, if your furnace quits working, there will be no water in your pipes to freeze.
For more information, contact Indiana American Water's 24 hour customer service center at 1-800-492-8373 or visit http://www.indianaamwater.com.