It’s that time of the year—temperatures dipping into freezing zones at night. Winter is nearly upon us, and it's time to get your home ready. First step, turning off your sprinkler system and outdoor water faucet, and winterizing your pipes and faucets. It's amazing how just a little bit of water can result in so much damage when pipes freeze, and then crack or burst as they thaw. With just an inch of water in your basement you could easily be facing a repair bill in excess of $10,000 to remove the water and get everything dried out. And that's not even considering the potential damage to your belongings. But that kind of disaster is so easy to prevent! Outdoor faucets and exposed pipes in the basement are the most vulnerable to freezing and breaking, and also the easiest to protect with just a few dollars and a little time. First and foremost, remove your garden hose from the outdoor faucet and drain it. Then simply add a faucet protector (above right) to keep the cold air from getting into your pipes. These are generally made of styrofoam and readily available at any hardware store for less than $10.
Second, insulate any exposed pipes in your unheated basement or garage using the polyethylene insulation tubes (bottom left). As with the faucet cover, these are extremely inexpensive, generally around $1 or so for six feet or more depending upon how they are packaged, and readily available at any hardware store. Adding this to your home winterization strategy is a quick and simple DIY project that has the potential to save a whole lot of heartache and money! We also recommend checking your insurance policy to make sure that water damage is part of your standard coverage. We've heard rumors that some policies require you to purchase an additional rider of sorts to cover water damage. And it's better to be safe than sorry in the event that you do have a burst pipe.