13 Nov How To Prevent Frozen Water Pipes
Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter
As winter creeps in and the weather gets colder, one of the things you need to think about is frozen water pipes. Having frozen pipes is not only inconvenient because you can’t get water from your faucet, but it also creates a lot of pressure. Should that pressure build-up, it could cause your pipes to burst. When that happens, you have a significant problem on your hands. Listed below are some things you should consider doing to prevent frozen pipes.
Why Are Frozen Pipes A Problem In The Winter?
Well technically, they aren’t. It’s not the frozen pipes that are the problem, but the water inside those pipes. We all recall from science class that water expands as it freezes. This expansion prevents water flow and exerts tremendous pressure on your pipes when they freeze. No matter their size or strength, expanding water can cause your pipes to break, one of the worst nightmares for a homeowner.
Even scarier, they aren’t simply a cold weather problem. The homes that are actually more vulnerable to frozen pipes are those in typically warmer climates because those pipes may not be properly insulated against such frigid temperatures.
The good news is that there are seven easy steps you can take to help prevent this problem from occurring when the temperatures drop.
1. Have Water Pipes Inspected
The first thing you should consider doing to prevent frozen pipes is to have them inspected by a professional. They’ll be able to let you know if you are at an increased risk of having pipes freeze and break because of their location or their composition. They can also suggest ways to reduce risk.
2. Keep the Heat On
Not only is winter time for cold weather, but several holidays occur. If you are planning on traveling to visit friends and family, you might be tempted to turn your heat off while you are gone so that you don’t have to worry about having a high utility bill. Turning it entirely off could lead to an increased chance of your pipes freezing.
You don’t have to keep your heater on super hot, but make sure that it doesn’t fall below 50 degrees. Anything below this temperature increases the chances of your pipes freezing and you coming home to a terrible mess.
3. Open the Cupboard Doors
In addition to keeping the heat above 50 degrees, it’s also a good idea to keep the cupboard doors open. Keeping warm air moving through the cupboard will help prevent frozen pipes.
Another way to reduce the chances of your water pipes freezing is to turn them on to a slow drip. The reason this action is helpful is that it reduces the pressure that exists in your pipes. It is the pressure between the blockage and the faucet that causes the pipes to break, so getting rid of the stress can be beneficial.
If your faucet has both hot and cold water, you will want to open both sides to relieve the pressure. Should you have a single-hand valve, then turning this to warm and allowing it to drip should be sufficient.
5. Apply Heat Tape
For water pipes that are at high risk for freezing, such as those close to exterior walls or in crawl spaces or attics, you might consider applying some heat tape. In essence, heat tape works like a blanket for your pipes and supplies heat directly to them to keep them warm.
There are two different kinds of heat tape: one that has a sensor that lets it know when it should turn on and off and one that has to be plugged in to supply heat when needed. While this option can reduce the chances of your water pipes freezing, heat tape can also be a fire hazard. Thus, you will need to be cautious if you decide to use heat tape.
6. Add Insulation
Adding insulation can be another way to keep your pipes from freezing. You can add the insulation directly to the pipes, wrapping them in foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves, or you can add it to the area around the pipes. Having a professional help with this task will ensure that you get the right coverage and amount of insulation to keep your pipes from freezing.
While insulation can help maintain the temperature inside the pipe, it doesn’t add any extra heat as heat tape does. Thus, if temperatures continue to be super cold for an extended period, this could result in your pipes freezing despite your best efforts.
Making sure that you seal cracks, gaps, or holes where pipes run through walls or floors can help reduce the chances of them freezing. Using items such as caulk or foam insulation can help reduce the chances of your pipes freezing when it gets super cold outside. You’ll want to make sure you seal the areas inside and outside of the wall for this to be effective.
When the professional comes and inspects your pipes, they should ensure that any plumbing outside your home is adequately insulated against cold temperatures. If it’s not, they should suggest ways to overcome this issue so that you can reduce the chances of your water pipes freezing.
Take Preventative Measures Today
Winter isn’t quite here, but it won’t be long before temperatures drop, and the chances of your water pipes freezing increases. Now is a great time to take preventative measures to keep this from happening. Call in a local professional to take a look at your plumbing and help you get your pipes ready for winter.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Tyler serves the East Texas cities of Kilgore, Longview, Tyler, and Whitehouse with a team of certified plumbers. In addition to emergency plumbing repair, some of the plumbing services provided by the company include faucet repair, drain services, toilet repair, plumbing fixture installations, tub and shower installations, kitchen sink repair, faucet installation, water heater repair/replacement, and garbage disposal replacement. Call us today at (903) 730-6611 to schedule an appointment!