RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As winter arrives, you are probably stocking up on warm clothes and making your holiday shopping list. But are you thinking about your pipes? Well Owner has some helpful tips for keeping your water supply safe this winter.

Frozen pipes are a common winter issue for homeowners, since water expands when it freezes. This expansion can cause pipes to burst, creating expensive and even dangerous damage.

If you have a well or pipe system for your home that is built above ground or above the frost line, you are especially at risk for your water supply freezing.

Here are some of the tips you can follow to keep your home safe — and your wallet happy — during the colder months:

  • Have a certified contractor do a general inspector on your pipes to spot problems early.
  • If you have piping that runs through non-heated spaces like basements, you can insulate your pipes with rubber casings or fiberglass insulation.
  • Test your well water for water quality, especially if you dealt with flooding and rain in the summer. You should generally test your well water quality once a year.
  • If you have an above ground pipe system, consider asking a contractor to construct a small insulated enclosure to cover your water pump. This enclosure should help keep the system above 32 degrees and thus reduce the risk of freezing and other damage.
  • You might want to shut off your water entirely if you are planning for a trip or a period where you will be away from home. Check to see if your home as a shut-off valve for its exterior water supply. Once the supply is off, drain the remaining water or use an air compressor to blow out the pipes. If you do not have a shut-off valve, contact a local contractor about your options.
  • Always have a portable gas generator and plenty of gas on hand to connect to your pumping system in cause your power goes out. You can also reach out to a contractor to ask about backup generators.
  • Also stock up on bottled water in case your power is out for a long time.