Winter cold can lead to indoor flooding. The cause? Frozen plumbing pipes that burst. Vacant homes are at most risk. If you own a vacation home or will away from home for more than a couple of days this winter, then home winterization services are a must.
Shut Down the Indoor Water
Turn off the water main coming into the home each time you plan to be away for more than a short time. Although shutting down the main won't necessarily prevent a broken pipe, it will prevent a major flood from occurring. Water main valves are typically located in the basement, in the utility room, or just outside the house beneath a plastic utility access panel. Your plumber will be able to find the main if you don't know where it is.
Consider an Antifreeze Treatment
If you plan to leave the house empty for the entire winter, then it may be worth it to do a bit more than just turn off the main - especially if you plan to shut down the heat. Even once the main is off there will still be some water in the lines. Your plumber may recommend pouring a small amount of antifreeze down each drain pipe to further reduce the chances of freezing in the event the temperatures plummet.
Manage Outdoor Water Supplies
Frozen pipes are even more likely to occur outside. All irrigation lines should be drained and blown out in the fall. Then, the water valves to the irrigation lines along with those that supply outside faucets and plumbing, like fountains, should all be shut down. Use insulative covers on exposed faucets and bring items like fountain pumps inside for storage.
Control the Temperature
Don't simply turn off the furnace when leaving your home in winter, since this increases the chances of frozen pipes. Instead, set the furnace to 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave drapery closed so that more heat is conserved inside the home. Further, open cabinet doors beneath sinks so the warm air can circulate around the pipes.
Insulate Your Pipes
Insulating your pipes is another good way to reduce the chances of bursting. You can apply pipe insulation anywhere that the pipes are easily accessible and exposed, such as where they run beneath sinks or along the basement ceiling. Insulating alone won't prevent freezing, but it will reduce the chances.
Contact a plumber or home winterization service for more help.