People flock to Las Vegas to avoid the cold, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your plumbing is entirely safe. Temperatures can go below the freezing point in the colder winter months, and many locals aren’t nearly as prepared for the icy weather as they should be. While water freezing in the pipes is a common affliction in the Eastern part of the country, desert dwellers are often unaware of this occurrence until it is too late. Instead of running a constant stream of water (which is terrible for the environment and your pipes), consider these ways to winterize your house plumbing when the colder weather is coming.
Antifreeze is going to be your friend in the most basic step to winterizing your house plumbing. While it’s not safe to put in anything that could provide drinkable water, antifreeze will work wonders on the smaller, more intricate places such as bathroom drains. To start, turn off the main water valve, the water pump, and the water heater. Nothing should be circulating through the home, and you’ll want to drain out all tanks as much as possible. Using an air compressor, pump fresh air through the pipes to ensure they’re as dry as possible before adding a tiny bit of antifreeze down areas that drain (never down anything that pumps). Drain traps are a likely culprit of holding water that will easily freeze and crack, and ensuring that they’re adequately protected will save you endless hassle in the long run.
If you want to do a thorough inspection, start with the pipes that are most likely to freeze in the winter. Many Las Vegas homes have some form of plumbing outdoors, such as your vacuum seal breaker which is significantly more susceptible to winter conditions. Uninsulated pipes near unheated areas are a likely target and should be wrapped in a protective sleeve before the colder season comes. Insulation is available for nearly any pipe at your local hardware store and can make a huge difference in the safety of your pipes. Look around all visible pipes for cracking, corrosion, or damage that indicates the cold could easily weaken it. Fix any issues with caulk, spray foam, or new pipes.
Just like how you would want to have a nice jacket on before walking out into the winter, your pipes want the same. While an interior heating source (such as your home heater) will save interior pipes, consider adding insulating sleeves or heat tape around harder to reach or outdoor pipes. Be careful to follow all manufacturer requirements when adding any form of insulation or heat tape around plumbing fixtures, and don’t be afraid to call in an expert if you find any damaged or old pipes that are out of your control.