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There are countless things that consumers should do to get themselves and their homes ready for the harsh temperatures of winter. This is especially true when it comes to protecting their pipes and other plumbing elements from weather extremes. Following are a few, important winter readiness tips that have been shared by the plumbing companies Fort Collins CO locals trust.

One of the first things that you should do just ahead of winter is to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned. This is especially important if you have landscaping drainage. You want all water to be able to flow free in these spaces. Cleaning out old, rotting debris such as damp tree leaves and other organic matter will ensure that this drainage never becomes overwhelmed, no matter how much rain or snow melt you get.

You also want to insulate your pipes. In fact, it is a good idea to have these properly insulated all throughout the year. This can prevent freezing and bursting, which often occurs when pipes are exposed to extreme temperatures while filled with water.

If you intend to leave your house vacant for any significant period of time, you will want to take a few additional steps to winterize your pipes. As water freezes, it invariably expands or grows larger. Significant accumulations of water can eventually turn to ice that tests pipes to their limits. Thus, when you get ready to pack up and head off for an extended winter vacation, you will want to make sure that your pipes do not currently have any water in them.

It is generally a good idea to have a checklist for your winterization project. This way, no important steps are overlooked and all of the essential plumbing elements are guaranteed to be included. As you take each recommended step, simply check the corresponding list item off.

Start by shutting off the water right at the main valve, just before you and your loved ones get ready to leave. You will also need to turn off the water heater and pump in the residence. This is essential for protecting the interior heating elements within your water heater, particularly when this unit has already been emptied.

Open up all your taps and the drain valves throughout the home. You should be able to check each on off your list as you do this, so that none are missed. Water may be held inside of your pipes if you leave a tap closed. This can create a vacuum effect.

To be sure that there is no water standing within the pipes, use an air compressor to blow it out. You should also flush your toilets after the water has been turned off. This will leave the smallest amount of water possible remaining in the toilet bowls. For any remaining water, add a small amount of antifreeze so that the toilet does not get cracked due to freezing. Make sure that every tub and sink drain has a fitted drain trap and put a small amount of antifreeze in these to protect the traps from freezing and cracking.