Each season has its own set of home maintenance tasks.  Winter’s making a swift approach, and it’s time for the winterizing part of your home maintenance program. When making the rounds, don’t forget to take care of your plumbing. Air Leaks:  When cold air hits a pipe, the water will naturally freeze. This can be easily avoided by closing vents in crawl spaces, stuffing insulation over the openings and filling cracks with foam or caulking. Garage Doors:  If your laundry room or bathroom borders the garage in any way, keep the garage door closed as much as possible. This will keep the heat inside and prevent pipes from being damaged. Bathroom Pipes:  Some bathroom pipes run along exterior walls, predisposing them to freezing. Opening vanity doors can help preserve heat. Fans and space heaters can also circulate warm air, especially when a steep drop in temperature is expected. Keep the Heat Running:  If you’re leaving for a long period of time, don’t turn the furnace off. Setting the temperature at 55 degrees will keep pipes from getting to the freezing point and avoid a nasty surprise when you come home. Don’t Forget the Hose:  Disconnect, drain and bring all garden hoses in before the temperature drops too much. It’s also a good idea to shut off the water to external faucets and drain them as well. Sprinkler Systems:  Making sure any sprinkler systems are off and drained will save on expensive bills down the line. If even one head is damaged, it can spell disaster for the rest of the system. Locate the Water Shut-Off:  Make sure you know where the main shut-off is before anything can go wrong. It could be in a basement, underground or in a garage, depending on the age of the home. Turn faucets on and let pipes drain after turning the water off to get rid of excess pressure. Frozen Pipes:  If you hear running water after you’ve turned it off, or nothing comes out of the faucet when you turn it, you probably have a frozen pipe. If this is the case, use the listed methods to thaw them out and check for any leaks right away. Taking these steps will help avoid the potential stress and expense of repairs to plumbing or water damaged property.  Here in Minnesota storm damage to homes is an all-too-frequent occurrence, but there are steps you can take in winterizing your home to minimize the possibility.