Winterizing Your Pipes

A red frozen pipe with icicles dripping off it

If you’re new to the Myrtle Beach area, you may be wondering why you would want to winterize your pipes. We live in a very warm climate, it’s true, but wintertime temperatures can and often do dip low enough to make frozen and burst pipes a risk. A frozen or burst pipe can cause significant damage and is the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with on a shivery January night.
Before you proceed with any winterization steps, you will want to make sure you know where the main water shut-off to your entire home is located and that you can access it (some shut-offs may be underground). You’ll also want to check if your outside plumbing has a separate shut-off and where it is located as well.

Outside Winterization

  • Remove hoses from all outdoor faucets, drain any water from the hose and store it away for the winter.
  • If your outdoor plumbing has its own shut-off valve, you’ll want to use it to shut off the water to outside plumbing. Afterward, open and run the outdoor faucets until all of the water has drained out.
  • If your outdoor plumbing does not have a separate shut-off valve from your water main shut-off, you’ll want to consider insulating any exposed outdoor pipes and plumbing fixtures. Insulation for outdoor plumbing is widely available at most home improvement stores.
  • Your sprinkler system should also have a separate shut-off valve just for your sprinklers. Similar to the steps above, you’ll want to turn off the shut-off valve to the sprinkler system and then run the sprinklers until all of the water has been expelled. Sprinkler systems can be easily damaged and create costly repairs. For added protection, it’s recommended to have a professional come to blow out the sprinkler system to ensure all of the water is out for the winter.

Indoor Winterization

  • Inside the home, the biggest risk for freezing pipes is in any area of the home that is unheated. Spaces like garages, attics, basements, and crawl spaces may have exposed plumbing that could freeze up. You’ll want to wrap any exposed pipes and plumbing fixtures with insulation in those unheated areas. Eliminating or fixing drafts affecting any of those unheated spaces will also help protect your plumbing.
  • If the home will be vacant for the winter, you’ll want to drain the water from inside the home as well. Use the inside shut-off valves to turn off the water to the water heater, icemaker, and any other appliance in the home that uses water. Turn off the water supply to the entire home at the main shut-off. Then run all faucets and drain the water from all appliances until all of the water has been drained throughout the entire home.
  • Additionally, consider leaving the furnace on low rather than turning it completely off. While it will have a cost to do so, it is far better than returning home in the spring to find you overlooked and have a large repair bill on your hands.

If you have questions about winterizing your pipes, whether indoors or outdoors, we are happy to help. Call us at 843-627-2337 for assistance protecting your plumbing during the winter months.