It’s important to make sure the inner workings of your home are running efficiently now that the temperatures are dropping and the colder months are ahead. Some tasks are more challenging than others however.

Plumbing can be one of the most intimidating areas of home maintenance and it can also be one of the most costly. Dave Walton, director of home ideas at Enercare Home Services, offers these simple tips for keeping household plumbing working efficiently, even in the coldest months:

Fix leaking faucets – Make sure to fix leaking taps right away because just one leaking faucet can waste almost 130 litres per year.

Prepare outdoor water faucets – By disconnecting the hose, turning off the inside shut off-valve, and leaving the outside faucet in the “on” position for the winter, you will release the pressure in your pipes, and help prevent potential issues.

Prevent freezing pipes – Take some time to insulate your plumbing. Look for cracks in the insulation surrounding the basement wall, attic, crawl spaces and garage, and use pipe covers or expandable foam insulation to fill them, making sure to maintain a 30 centimetre (12 inch) clearance from your water heater. This will keep cold wind from affecting your pipes.

Get familiar with your plumbing system – Make sure you know where the main waterline valve is so that you are prepared if any problems arise.

Prepare your home before you go on vacation – If you’re planning to be away for an extended period of time, make sure to turn the water off at the main service valve and open the taps to drain water from your plumbing in case temperatures drop while you’re gone. It’s also a good idea to ask a neighbour to check on your home periodically.

Additional home efficiency tips are available at

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