How to Properly Maintain Your Plumbing in Winter: Special tips and advice for maintaining plumbing during the colder months.

Winter is a beautiful time of year, but it can also be a tough one for your plumbing. Pipes may freeze and break during cold snaps, resulting in expensive damage to your house. But don't worry. There are a few simple things you can do to keep your plumbing in good condition all winter long.

In this article, we'll share some special tips and advice for maintaining plumbing during the colder months. We'll cover everything from how to protect your outdoor faucets to how to keep your pipes from freezing. So read on and learn how to keep your plumbing flowing smoothly all winter!

Simple Plumbing Maintenance Tips for the Winter Months

It's crucial to prepare your plumbing system for the cold weather as the winter months approach. Below, we have provided you with valuable tips to help you protect your plumbing during the winter season.

  1. Close Outdoor Faucets

Winterizing your outdoor faucets is a crucial step in preventing frozen and burst pipes. Here's how to do it:

  • Turn off the water supply to the outdoor faucets.
  • Open the tap to allow any remaining water to drain out.
  • Install a frost-free hose bib cover to insulate and protect the tap.

  1. Remove Water Hoses

Water hoses left attached to outdoor faucets can cause severe problems during winter. Follow these steps to safeguard your hoses:

  • Disconnect all water hoses from outdoor faucets.
  • Drain any remaining water from the hoses.
  • Store hoses in a dry and sheltered location, like a garage or shed.

  1. Insulate Pipes

Insulating your plumbing pipes can prevent freezing and potential damage. Consider these tips for protecting your pipes:

  • Use pipe insulation sleeves to cover exposed pipes in unheated areas.
  • Pay special attention to pipes in crawl spaces, basements, and attics.
  • Fill up any holes or fissures in the foundation or walls where cold air could seep in.

  1. Keeping Drains Clean

Clogged drains can lead to plumbing issues, especially during the winter. Here's how to keep your gutters clean and free-flowing:

  • Regularly flush your gutters with hot water to prevent buildup.
  • For small blockages, use a vinegar and baking soda mixture.
  • Clear your gutters and downpipes of any obstructions, leaves, and other debris.
  • Make sure the roof is properly drained to avoid the development of ice dams.
  • Look for any indications of leaks or broken shingles on your roof.
  • Repair any issues promptly to avoid water damage during winter storms.

  1. Checking Water Systems

Proper maintenance of your water systems is essential to ensure a seamless water supply and to prevent potential issues, especially during the cold winter months. 

We have shared essential tips for checking your water systems and, most importantly, spotting a frozen or blocked pipe when the temperatures drop. Follow these steps to keep your water flowing smoothly and avoid costly repairs.

  • Test Taps

One of the first steps in assessing your water system's health is to test the taps throughout your home. Turn on each faucet to check the water pressure and temperature. 

Irregular water flow or inconsistent temperatures can indicate potential issues in your plumbing system.

  • Ensure Hot Water Service is Running Properly

A well-functioning hot water system is crucial, especially during the winter months. Make sure your hot water service is operating efficiently. 

If you notice any inconsistencies, consider servicing or repairs to prevent unexpected failures when you need hot water.

  • Run Water from Every Valve Regularly

To prevent stagnant water and keep the pipes in good condition, run water from every valve in your home regularly, even if you don't use some frequently. Stagnant water can lead to foul odors and deterioration of pipe materials.

  • Turn Off Mains When Away

When you plan to be away from home for an extended period, such as a vacation, it's wise to turn off the main water supply to prevent potential leaks or water-related emergencies. This precaution can save you from coming home to an unpleasant surprise.

  • Protect Garage Doors

Ensure that your garage doors are well-sealed to prevent cold air from entering. Cold temperatures can lead to freezing and bursting pipes in the garage. Proper insulation can help maintain a more stable environment and protect your water systems.

  • Seal Cracks and Holes

Inspect your home for cracks or holes in the walls or foundation, and seal them to prevent cold air from infiltrating. Proper insulation and sealing can go a long way in keeping your pipes from freezing.

How to Spot a Frozen and Blocked Pipe in Winter?

As winter approaches, identifying frozen and blocked pipes is crucial. Look out for the following signs:

  • If you turn on a tap and no water comes out, or it trickles slowly, this could be a sign of a frozen pipe.
  • Visual inspection can be a quick indicator. If you see frost or ice on your pipes, there's a high chance they are frozen.
  • A foul or unusual odor from your tap water can signal a blocked pipe. It could be caused by trapped debris or bacteria buildup.
  • Gurgling or banging sounds from your pipes can indicate blockages or pressure issues caused by freezing.
  • If you notice any unusual bulges in your pipes, it's a sign of pressure building due to freezing, and you should act promptly.


  1. What pipes are best for winter?

The best pipes for winter are less susceptible to freezing and bursting. Two commonly recommended types are copper and PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipes. Extreme temperature resistance and durability are two of copper pipes' best qualities. PEX pipes are less likely to freeze and are more flexible.

  1. What happens to pipes in the cold?

In cold temperatures, water inside pipes can freeze, causing it to expand. When water freezes and expands, it exerts tremendous pressure on the walls, leading to cracks or pipe bursts.

  1. Is it better to drain your pipes in the winter?

Draining your pipes in the winter is generally not recommended, especially if you plan to use your plumbing system during the cold season. Empty pipes are more prone to freezing. Instead, it's advisable to insulate your pipes and take preventive measures to keep them from freezing.

  1. What is the best temperature for pipes?

The best temperature for pipes is above freezing, ideally maintained above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). However, it's advised to keep your inside temperature above 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) to be on the safe side and avoid freezing.


Winter plumbing maintenance is an essential task to protect your home from costly water damage and ensure that your plumbing system operates smoothly throughout the cold season. By using these easy precautions, you can protect your drains, faucets, and pipes and ensure that your house stays dry and toasty over the winter. To ensure a worry-free winter, winterize your plumbing system right now.