Time to Winterize: Winterizing Plumbing Tips Winnetka Times

By Carrie Hoza, 4th Generation Licensed Plumber, Bratschi Plumbing Co.

Cozying up in front of the fire with a good book. Pond hockey and trips up and down the sledding hill until we cannot feel our toes. The still quietness that blankets the Village after a big snowfall. All reasons to LOVE winter in Winnetka. That is until the meteorologist informs us temperatures will be sub-zero for days on end—or a pipe bursts.

That’s when winter loses its appeal and we start counting the days until spring. While there are no guarantees against burst, frozen or cracked pipes in your home, there are a few preventative steps you can take to help “winterize” and protect it before those artic blasts become a cold reality.


When water freezes it expands. This can cause pipes containing water to rupture and lead to flooding and water damage inside your home and on your property. The pipes that are most at risk are those located in exterior walls or those exposed to the elements.

  • Take time to drain and disconnect your garden hoses and store them until spring. This will save your hoses from damage, and prevent freezing issues with exterior lawn faucets.
  • Locate the shut-off valves that lead to exterior faucets and turn off the water. The pipes will also need to be drained to prevent potential freezing and bursts.
  • After a snowfall, check that no snow is restricting your water drainage. If the sump pump’s discharge line is blocked by snow or flowing into a puddle (that will freeze), water can back up into your home.


For the interior of your home, pay attention to pipes in unheated areas such as attics or crawlspaces. Pipes near exterior walls are also at risk for freezing due to insufficient insulation.

  • Open cabinets in kitchen and bathrooms to keep warm air circulating near those pipes.
  • On the coldest of days, let water drip from faucets connected to exposed pipes.
  • If you are a snowbird and will be away from your home for an extended amount of time, make sure you keep your heat on (set to a lower, but adequate temperature) despite no one being there to appreciate it. The low cost for the energy used will be far less than repairing the damage from a burst pipe.

As we head into what seems like the longest season in Chicago, taking these steps is your best defense against freezing temps. And if you need help to winterize your home, schedule an appointment with a local, licensed, professional plumber. Most provide seasonal services to turn off and winterize your outdoor water systems when it’s cold, and turn them on again when temperatures are back on the rise.