The key to preparing any external plumbing for winter is to drain all remaining water from the system. All valves and spigots should be left open or removed if possible to avoid trapping excess water. This applies equally to both outside plumbing such as hoses, sprinkler systems and pipes, as well as plumbing in areas such as basements and garages that could potentially fall below freezing temperature.
If water is left in pipes to freeze, the water will expand as it turns to ice, and be likely to crack the pipes around it. Cracked leaky pipes can cause extensive damage if left unchecked, so it is best to be proactive and address the possibility of freezing before winter begins.
If you are unsure how to properly drain your outside plumbing, it is best to call a professional plumber. A plumber will be able to drain your pipes quickly and properly, potential saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run by eliminating the possibility of your pipes freezing and cracking.
It is possible for homeowners to insulate inside pipes that could be prone to freezing such as in crawl spaces or other poorly insulated areas. However, again, a professionally licensed plumber will be able to ensure that your plumbing is insulated properly – potentially saving you thousands of dollars in the long-run by eliminating the risk of pipes freezing.
It is important to note that these winterization techniques should be employed wherever there is even a risk of the outside temperature dipping below zero degrees Celsius. All it takes is one night of freezing temperatures to cause your pipes to crack. The result could be a nasty leak.
Also, measures should be taken well in advance of the onset of freezing temperatures. Unforeseen circumstances could arise that cause the eventual winterization of your plumbing to be delayed. With our Canadian winters being what they are, it is important to stay on top of your outdoor plumbing.