5 Prevention Tips Before A Plumbing Emergency Happens

Preparing for winter can save you money and time during an already stressful holiday season. One way to prepare for winter is to have information about the plumbing system in your house.  You should know the inner workings of your home in case there is a home emergency or burst pipe. A little information can go a long way in a home emergency. You should know where the water shutoff valve is to your home and where the water supply and valves are in case there is an emergency. Review the water system with your family which includes, water heaters, water supply pipes, water drainage pipes, sinks, bathtubs, showers, toilets, dishwashers, boilers, heating systems, and drainage traps.

In the Richmond Metro area homes are built differently so main water shut offs can be located in different locations.  Plumbing regulations mandates that a shut off valve must exist in an accessible location but can vary from home to home.  Your system may have changed or have been replaced outside of these regulations so it’s important to understand your home’s plumbing system before an emergency happens. Below are five prevention tips that will help you prepare before a plumbing emergency strikes this winter season.


Close all your home’s foundation vents. Use styrofoam or wood to block vent openings. Make sure to open the vents again when the weather is warmer to prevent dry rot. Open foundation vents is the leading cause of frozen and burst pipes.


Use caulking around pipes that enter into your home.

Outside Faucets

If you do not have a separate valve to turn off outside faucets, wrap outside faucets. You can use rags covered with plastic or molded foam insulated covers to wrap the faucet.  Make sure to drain in ground sprinkler systems to ensure water is not left to prevent freezing.

Drain Water

Ensure outside pipes and faucets are drained by using the water shut off and drainage valves to drain all water from the water supply system. In some homes there may be an outside faucet that has a separate shut-off in the garage, basement or under a sink.  You should understand your home’s water system before you open and close these shut-off valves.

Insulate Pipes

Use insulating tape or wrap to insulate pipes in unheated areas like crawl spaces, attics, garages or basements. Cover all pipe-fittings, valves, exposed pipes with insulating tape or other materials that can be purchased at your local hardware store.

It’s important to remember in the winter to shut off and drain your water system if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time. Make sure to turn off your water heater before draining the system.

Plumbing Emergency Prevention Overwhelmed?

These are basic tips in preventing emergencies this winter.  If prevention seems overwhelming or if you experience an emergency, Mike Wilson Plumbing is here to help this winter!  Please call us at (804) 641-6570 for a free consultation and for all your winter plumbing needs.

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