As Macon Water Authority customers anticipate falling temperatures during the winter months, they should also take precautions to weatherize their homes and winterize their outdoor pipes and irrigation systems to save time, money, and water later.
Since most grass is dormant during the winter months, MWA customers are likely to decrease their outdoor watering accordingly. As a result, it’s difficult to assess any pipe damage that may occur during the winter, primarily from water remaining in an exposed outdoor water line. Issues are not likely to show up until spring. However, winterizing those outdoor water lines can prevent potential pipe freezing and subsequent water line bursts from occurring in the future.
According to sources at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extensive Service, most in-ground pipes will be OK during the winter since only the top two inches of ground will typically freeze in Georgia. Other pipes and valves at or above ground, such as backflow-prevention devices, may be in danger.
For Exposed Valves, Pipes, and Irrigation Systems
- Tape exposed pipes – many home improvement retailers have tapes, foams, insulation, and other products for sale to use in these instances.
- Wrap them as well, with sacks or protective materials.
- Drain your entire sprinkler system, as the tips of sprinkler heads often continue to hold water, even when inactive.
For Winterizing Outdoor Faucets and Garden Hoses
- Disconnect garden hoses from all outdoor water faucets, allowing water to drain from frost-free faucets.
- After disconnecting and draining garden hoses, store them in a place with consistent (warmer) temperatures.
- If hoses are left without draining, do not move them or handle them during freezing temperatures, as they may be brittle and can be damaged.
- If a faucet is not frost free, find the shut-off valve in the basement or crawl space where the pipe feeds the faucet outside the home or building. Shut off this valve feeding this outdoor line. Open the outside faucet to ensure it drains after the valve feeding this outdoor line has been cut off.
Additional Weatherization Tips
- Add or supplement insulation for water heaters.
- Protect window air conditioning units by draining their pipes/hoses.
- Remove those window units, if possible, and insulate the area accordingly.
- Clean gutters so winter rains and melting snow can drain properly.
- Keep garage doors closed whenever possible to keep the heat around water heaters.
- Opening cabinet doors in the home to expose pipes to heat and leaving a few faucets dripping can help during extremely cold incidents.
- When leaving your home or business, place the thermostat on 55 degrees rather than turning it off altogether.
Should a pipe burst due to freezing or under any other circumstances, know how to shut off your main water line servicing your home or building.