Here in Canada, one of our top priorities is to make the most of our too-short summer season. Outdoor plumbing is a great way to do that, but after the warm season is over our legendary winters can wreak havoc on outdoor pipes, pools, and pumps. Unless you want to be calling Red Deer Plumb-Pro for emergency plumbing help, here are some tips to help you get your outdoor plumbing in order for winter.
- Close the Supply Valve
It only takes one night of freezing weather to damage your pipes, so the first thing you should do when the temperature starts dropping is close the supply valve that provides water to your outdoor fixture and drain all the water from the pipe.
- Disconnect the Hose
If your home does not have a separate supply valve for your outdoor plumbing, start by disconnecting hoses, splitters, or connections from your outdoor spigot. Forgetting to do this can cause trapped water and frozen fixtures that will need a professional plumber to come out and repair or replace.
- Turn off and Drain Sprinkler Systems
If you have a timer, unplug it rather than turning it off, because the timer can be damaged by power surges in winter. Drain the system and blow out any remaining water in the line by attaching an air compressor to the drain valve. Finally, make sure to remove the backflow preventer and valves, which can be easily damaged if left outside in the winter.
- Leak Detection and Repair
Dripping water can block up and freeze in the fixture, so it is important to search out these leaks and get them fixed by a Plumb-Pro plumber. Need some help detecting leaks? Check out our article on leak detection.
- Insulate Your Fixtures
The final step to winterizing your outdoor plumbing is to protect your fixtures with insulation. You can buy hose bib covers at any home improvement store to fit your faucets and keep them warm and dry all winter. As a bonus, these covers can be reused for many years to come so they are a cheap investment.
- Outdoor Kitchens
As a final note, if you have an outdoor kitchen in your backyard, there are some special steps you need to take to winterize this plumbing. After the water is shut off, make sure to drain any water from the pipes to that they don’t freeze and crack. Turn off the gas if you have a gas line running to your outdoor kitchen, and don’t forget to pour a little antifreeze down the sink to take care of any water stuck in the drain.