As the temperatures drop during the winter season, it is important that homeowners prepare for these extreme temperatures and protect their homes. Often one of the biggest and most problematic concerns during the winter is the risk of pipes freezing. If a pipe freezes it could potentially burst, leading to serious damage and expensive repair bills. Here are the top 5 frozen pipe prevention tips for homeowners.
- Let the water run on low. Since this does waste water, try to only run faucets that are at risk of freezing during the cold weather. Faucets at risk are those running through unheated, uninsulated spaces. Letting the faucet drip can help to prevent faucets from bursting due to the cold temperatures. It is not the flow of the faucet that stops the freezing, since water can freeze even when moving slowly, turning on the water opens the faucet up so that pressure is reduced significantly. When there is an ice blockage due to freezing in your water pipes, usually an extreme pressure will begin developing, leading up to a burst pipe. If you remove the source of pressure, even if your pipes freeze, they will not burst.
- Make sure that your pipes are properly insulated before cold weather hits. Check the pipes to see if the area around them is sealed properly. Gaps, holes and cracks in the wall attached to the pipe could results in the pipe being exposed to extremely cold air making frozen pipes more likely to develop. Any spaces near water pipes will need to be sealed effectively using a caulk. You can buy caulk from any local hardware store or home and garden center.
- Keep cabinet doors that access your pipes open. Opening these cabinet doors will allow warm, heated air from your home to circulate around the pipes, helping to protect them from extreme cold temperatures. This is a simple tip to keep pipes from freezing that requires no installation, set up, money or time!
- Another way to keep these pipes warm is to apply electric heating tapes and cables to the pipes. Be sure to use these products with caution to prevent fires and keep your home safe. These tapes and cables have integrated thermostats that will trigger the heat to automatically turn on or off whenever needed, helping to ensure your pipes never get too cold. If the tape doesn’t have a thermostat, it will need to be manually plugged in, which is an easy thing to forget, reducing its ability to be effective.
- Finally, insulate the pipes. You can buy an insulation sleeve to wrap around the pipe, helping to keep warm pipes away from cold temperatures. You can pick up an insulation sleeve from any hardware store in materials such as fiberglass or foam rubber. AIM to buy the extra thick kind. They will cost a bit more, but the results will be worth the additional cost.
When protecting your home from extreme cold temperatures, you may consider programmable digital thermostat benefits to warm your house and other ways you can stay warm. In addition to keeping your home comfortable, you will also need to keep your pipes in good condition. By following these tips you can properly insulate and protect your water pipes to prevent freezing and serious repair costs.