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How to Protect Your Pipes and Denver Sprinkler System This Winter

October 2, 2019

Winter weather gets cold in the greater Denver area. And that means your home will be at risk for ruptured pipes several times throughout the season. Though most homeowners insurance companies will help pay for repairs, provided you’re not at fault for the burst pipes, it’s far better to avoid filing a claim in the first place. Unfortunately, keeping your pipes warm isn’t always as easy as it might seem. Here are a few things you can do to give your pipes the best chance to get through the winter weather unscathed.

Schedule a Sprinkler System Blowout
Your home’s sprinkler system relies on water from your home’s watermain. It pulls water through pipes buried underground and sends it out through the sprinkler heads whenever the system is set to run. This means you have a relatively complex arrangement of pipes running beneath your lawn and landscaping. 
Unfortunately, those pipes can freeze without you knowing it. And when that happens, you may not notice the problem until the following spring when you try to use the system for the first time. The resulting repairs are expensive and time-consuming. Worse, it can destroy your current landscaping efforts. 
The easiest way to prevent damage is to schedule a sprinkler system blowout. Your sprinkler experts will send air through the pipes and water lines running to your sprinkler system after turning off the water supply for the season. The air then gets pushed out through the sprinkler heads, sending any remaining water inside the lines out to your lawn. Once it’s done, there won’t be any water left inside your system, keeping it safe from below-freezing temperatures all winter long.

Insulate Exposed Pipes
When pipes are exposed to the elements, they’re subject to the weather conditions outside. This means the metal of the pipes will get cold and freeze when the temperatures drop. Cold metal gets brittle fast and if water in the pipes freezes and expands, you’ll have a huge problem on your hands. 
Insulating those exposed pipes will help you keep your plumbing in good shape. To do this, it’s best to invest in foam pipe insulation. All you have to do is wrap the insulation around the exposed pipes and tape it in place. 
You can leave the insulation in place year-round or you can remove it once the weather gets warmer. Just remember to check the forecast and make sure the freezing temps are over before you remove the insulation.

Leave the Taps Dripping
No one likes to waste water. And dripping faucets can waste a lot of it. But during the winter, this is actually a good thing—when water runs through the pipes, it takes much colder temperatures to freeze and create a rupture. 
We’re not saying you should leave dripping faucets unrepaired. Let your plumber fix them as soon as possible. But when the weather gets cold, turn on the taps and let your faucets run overnight. 
For some homeowners, it may be enough to leave the faucet dripping rapidly. But others may want to leave a steady stream about the size of a pencil lead running overnight. This way, your pipes will stay in good shape and you won’t wake up to an unexpected leak. 

Keep Your Garage Door Closed
Unfortunately, most garages aren’t insulated as well as the rest of your house. And since many attached garages have plumbing running through the walls, you’re at risk for frozen pipes. And the more you open the door, the more the temperatures outside your home influence the warmth of the garage. 
The best thing you can do is keep your garage door closed during those cold snaps. If you do need to open it, take care to close it as soon as you’re done. This will help keep the warm air inside where it can better protect your home’s pipes. 
You can also add insulation to your garage door. Most hardware stores have insulation kits that you can easily install on your own. You’ll also want to check the door for leaks along the bottom of the door. If you see daylight through the rubber seal, add weather stripping to create a better barrier. 

Leave Your Heat Running
When you’re leaving town, it’s normal to want to turn everything off. After all, you’re not going to be there to use and enjoy your home’s heating system. But turning it off is almost always a bad idea in the winter. 
Before you leave, set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This will be enough to keep the inside of your home well above freezing and should prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place. 
Even better, the 55 degree setting won’t force your HVAC system to run constantly. This means it will use less energy to keep your home just warm enough. Over the course of the winter, those savings can really add up!

Avoid Running Space Heaters Unattended
On those really cold nights, you might be tempted to run a space heater in the garage or basement and leave it alone. Don’t. 
Space heaters can turn into major fire hazards. That’s why they need to be used in areas where you and your family can keep an eye on them and make sure nothing flammable gets too close to the heater. Leaving them in your garage could end up sparking a fire that threatens the safety of the rest of your house. 
If you have to use a space heater, use one that’s in great condition and has an automatic shut-off feature that will kill power to the unit if it gets too hot or tips over. 

Get Your Home Ready for Winter
Getting your house ready for winter doesn’t have to be a challenge. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to keep your home in good shape no matter how cold the weather gets. Just remember to schedule a sprinkler system blowout and let our pros help you keep your home and yard safe from the freezing weather. Contact us online or call (720) 435-1495.