As winter approaches, freezing pipes are a very real risk. Frozen pipes can lead to significant water damage and costly repairs.
Fortunately, you can take preventative measures to protect your plumbing this winter. Some of these measures are simple and inexpensive. Here are a few of our tips: 1. Insulate exposed pipes, especially those in unheated areas like crawl spaces and garages.
Insulating pipes is one of the easiest ways to prevent frozen water. Pipe sleeves or heat tape are inexpensive and available at any hardware store. They’re especially important for pipes located in unheated areas, such as basements, attics, and garages, and for outdoor spigots.
For the best results, use insulation paired with electrical heat cable to ensure warm air is reaching the pipes and melting any ice that may form. Also, make sure to seal any gaps where cold air could seep in. This will keep your home more energy-efficient and reduce the risk of freezing.
Another easy way to prevent frozen pipes is by leaving cabinet doors open under sinks, allowing warm air to circulate and melt any ice that may form. You should also let your faucets drip during cold weather, which relieves pressure and decreases the chance of a pipe bursting. These simple steps can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches this winter!
Turn Off the Water
Frozen pipes can burst and spray water throughout your home or building, soaking carpets, ruining furniture, and damaging walls. The best way to prevent this is by insuring that all water pipes are properly insulated.
This includes outdoor spigots, swimming pool supply lines, and any water line that runs through unheated areas of your home or garage. Insulation sleeves and wraps are available at most hardware and building supply stores.
You should also consider draining your washing machine, dishwasher, and any other household appliances that use water before leaving for a long period of time. This can also help to prevent frozen pipes by reducing the amount of water that remains in your pipes.
If you think a pipe may be frozen, it’s important to turn off the water at its shut-off valve. This will stop any water from flowing through the frozen section of pipe until it thaws and prevents more water damage. It’s also a good idea to open all faucets served by that exposed pipe, so any remaining water can escape as the ice melts.
Turn On the Faucets
If you have plumbing pipes in uninsulated areas, or located against exterior walls, periodically run water through them at a trickle. The constant flow of water prevents the formation of ice in your pipes.
If a pipe freezes, it can be very difficult to thaw without professional help. If you notice that a faucet is frozen, check to see if other faucets are affected by the freeze and turn on those faucets to provide a pathway for water to escape the frozen area. Using home remedies such as hair dryers, space heaters, and electric heating pads wrapped around the frozen pipe can also work to melt a pipe and relieve pressure.
Preventing pipe freezes and bursts can save you the inconvenience and expense of water damage repair costs and possible structural damage to your home. Follow these seven simple steps to protect your plumbing from the harsh winter weather.
Open Cabinet Doors
Leaving cabinet doors open allows warm air to circulate around plumbing under sinks and significantly reduces the likelihood of freezing. This is an easy and effective step that should be included in any winter plumbing preparations plan.
Another simple yet highly effective plumber trick is to leave a drip running through any faucets in your home, particularly those located under sinks. The constant trickle acts as a preventive measure by keeping water flowing throughout the pipes, greatly reducing the chances of freezing or bursting.
It’s also a good idea to shut off and drain all exterior faucets before the first frost. This will prevent hoses from accidentally being turned on in the spring and causing water to flow into your home. This step should be done in any home that includes a shed, garage or other detached building that houses any outdoor plumbing. Insulating these pipes can help too, especially if they’re in unheated areas such as crawl spaces or garages.