30 Jan Preventing Frozen & Burst Pipes
As temperatures drop, it becomes more vital that we find ways to protect our pipes from the freezing temps outside. If a pipe in your home freezes, the pressure that builds up could cause the pipe to burst and create a big mess that’s expensive and dangerous! So, let’s discuss how we can prevent your pipes from freezing, to begin with.
One of the best ways to protect your home from freezing pipes is to insulate the pipes in your home with foam, rubber, or fiberglass wrapping. An added bonus to insulating your pipes is that it can reduce plumbing noises, mold growth, and heat loss.
You can purchase insulation from your local hardware store, and it’s fairly easy to insulate your pipes using this method. Just be sure to follow the guidelines set forth by your manufacturer and always take the appropriate safety precautions. When insulating, make sure to focus especially on those pipes that are in unheated areas like your basement and exterior walls.
Drain Water When & Where You Can
In the fall, disconnect garden hoses and use an indoor valve to shut-off and drain the water from pipes that lead to outdoor faucets. If you’re going on vacation, you may want to shut-off and drain your water system before you leave. Keep in mind that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system, this may deactivate that system as well.
Seal Up Cracks & Holes
In areas where pipes run through walls and floors, be sure to seal up any cracks and holes with caulk or foam insulation to prevent cold air from passing through.
Keep the Heat On
If you’re leaving your home for an extended period of time during cold weather, make sure to keep the heat on! Make sure the heat is kept at least above 55 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your pipes from freezing while you’re away.
Additionally, it’s generally a good idea to have a trusted friend, neighbor or family member keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Let them know that you’ve left the heat on to prevent freezing, and if you have problem areas in your home, you may want to ask them to check on these areas every so often.
Open Interior Doors
Many of us have plumbing inside of cabinets in our home. With the doors closed, these cabinets have difficulty staying warm. If you can, leave these cabinets open to allow the heat from your home inside and tp keep pipes warm. As always, use caution with pets and children, and never leave harmful products out where they could get access to them!
During the day, leave the interior doors open in your home. Some rooms and closets may be more difficult to heat, so you may want to leave the doors open to allow heat to move throughout the home.
Let Faucets Drip
If you’re concerned that your pipes may freeze, you can alleviate the pressure that would cause them to burst by opening up your faucets slightly. If you have a hot and cold pipe, open both faucets slightly, and if you have a single-handle faucet, you can open it slightly to the warm water setting. Opening the faucet and reducing pressure will help to prevent a frozen pipe from bursting.
Use Heating Tape (with caution!)
In areas that may be especially susceptible to freezing, you can apply heating tape directly to pipes to keep them warm during a cold spell. Some heating tape can automatically sense when it needs to turn on and others have to be manually plugged in or unplugged. Both of these tapes can pose potential risks. Use them with caution, always follow the manufacturer’s directions and safety procedures, and only use tapes that have been UL tested.