Winter is almost here, so it’s time to prepare your Jacksonville home to withstand the winter’s chill. Precautions taken now will set your mind at ease when the temperature dips below freezing. Frozen pipes are always a concern, so preparing your plumbing system for winter should be at the top of your list of “things-to-do in November.”

How to Avoid Frozen Pipes
• Any air vents or openings in your home’s crawl space should be closed off
• The thermostat in your house should be set no lower than 55 degrees
• Insulate pipes near outside walls or unheated areas in your home
• Insulate outside spigots
• Make sure the cover on the water meter is secure to keep it from freezing
• If it gets extremely cold, you might want to leave the doors on the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, under your sink, open to help warm air circulation
• Keep water dripping slowly from your indoor faucets, if the temperature gets below 20 degrees.
• Be sure you know where the master valve is in your home. If the water line breaks, it will help you turn off the water quickly. The master valve is usually near the hot water heater, washer, utility room, or in the crawl space under the house.

If Pipes Freeze
• Gradually warm the pipes by using a heat lamp, light bulb, or a hair dryer at a low setting. Distribute the heat evenly over the surface of the pipe. Do not let any appliance, such as a blow dryer, come in contact with water. A blow torch or flame should never be used because it could thaw the pipe to fast and cause it to burst.
• If no water is coming out of the tap after these measures are taken, it would be wise to call your Utility Company here in Jacksonville to see if the water meter is frozen.
If you become frustrated or are unsure of any of these steps, call a trusted plumbing professional for help. They can also help you with any plumbing repairs in Jacksonville.

There are 10 cold weather tips for homeowners that will help keep you out of plumbing trouble during the winter months.

Winter Tips for Your Home’s Plumbing

• Leaves and debris in rain gutters or downspouts can restrict proper drainage from them in the winter season.
• Do not set the thermostat in your home any lower than 55 degrees. This is a necessary step to keeping pipes from freezing. Plastic, steel, or copper pipes are all at risk of cracking during the winter months. Even small cracks can cause you big problems if they cause the pipes to burst.
• Be sure to disconnect any water hoses that are outside your home. Water in connecting hoses and faucets may cause them to freeze and break.
• Check to see if outside faucets are leaking or dripping. If you cannot make the repairs needed, call Bill Fenwick Plumbing for plumbing repairs in Jacksonville.
• If there are shut-off valves inside your home that lead to the outside faucets, they should be closed and drained.
• Pick up an insulation kit for your faucets. They can be purchased at a local home improvement store in Jacksonville.
• Heat tape should be applied to the pipes in areas that are unheated. Thermostat-controlled heating cables also work well around pipes.
• The winter months are hard on your water heater. Draining sediment from your water heater tank before winter will help your water heater work more efficiently during the winter months.
• The heat setting on your water heater should be kept at 120 F, to keep it performing well.
• If you have a sump pump and pit, it should be cleaned by removing debris, rocks and leaves. It is a good idea to dump some water into the pit to see if it is working properly.

Special precautions should be taken if you are going to be away from your home for an extended period, this winter. You may want to have your water meter turned off and then drain the pipes. It might be a good idea to turn off your water heater, too.

If you need to call for quality plumbing repairs in Jacksonville, trust Bill Fenwick Plumbing. Fenwick has been servicing Jacksonville for over 44 years.