8 Proven Ways to Protect Your Pipes from Freezing
The summer sun is rising lower in the sky each day; it’s the first sign of colder weather and winter. Now’s the time to start protecting your home from those cold winter days and nights.
A big concern in many frigid parts of the country is freezing pipes, and it should be. Every year over 250,000 homes experience frozen pipes. Not only are frozen pipes expensive to repair, but your home and contents could be damaged or destroyed.
Think about this, 250 gallons of water could flood your home from a break in a pipe, just one eight-inch long in only a few minutes, and upset your life in ways you would never envision.
Low temperatures and chilly breezes can wreak your water pipes if they’re not insulated. When the surrounding temperature reaches 20 degrees heat from the water in the pipes is transferred to the freezing air, uninsulated pipes will start to freeze. So here is what you need 8 Proven Ways to Protect Your Pipes from Freezing.
Surprisingly enough, it’s not the expanding ice that causes the pipe to burst. As the ice expands, it raises the water pressure between the blockage and the turned off faucet. This continuous increase in water pressure is what eventual cracks the pipe. If you remember your high school physics teacher telling you that, you can compress a gas, but not a liquid. So if there was just air in the pipe you wouldn’t have a problem.
So what can you do now to get ready for that next icy weather to guarantee your pipes don’t freeze and burst this winter?
Here are 8 proven ways to protect your pipes from freezing.
1. Know how to turn off the main water supply valve.
Turning off this valve will stop the water coming into your house in the event of a broken pipe. Shutting the water off, as quickly as possible is your number one priority and will lessen the damage. Now you will have time to call a plumber for help.
If a plumber is not available right away, and you need to have your water back on asap, you can temporally stop the leak yourself. There are water pipe repair kits available that will repair a hole in a cracked pipe. Most are easy to install and work on plastic, multi-layer and metal pipes.
Concerned your pipes may freeze and crack over the winter, get proactive. Keep a couple of pipe repair kits on hand. There is another repair option at the end of this article which you should seriously consider.
2. Know where the water pipes are that are most likely to freeze.
The pipes in the unheated attics and the crawl spaces under your home are the ones exposed to the coldest temperature. When you find exposed pipes, wrap them with insulation. The more protective padding you can wrap around them, the less likely they are to freeze and burst. Pipe insulation is easy to install. It just slips over the pipe. A fiberglass insulated wrap is also a good choice, takes a little longer to install, but may give you better protection.
If you do have pipes that are subject to freezing, you may want to have a plumber reroute them to a warmer area.
3.Heat your pipes.
In extremely frigid temperatures, you may have to use thermostatically-controlled heat cables. These are wrapped around the insulation and provide heat for the pipes. Be careful with these. Install only heat cables that are UL approved. Make sure you follow all manufactures installation instructions.
Seal around all electrical wiring and pipes where they enter an area of frigid temperatures. Expandable foam insulation works great in these areas, but flexible insulation or caulking will also work. Seal up any leaks around any area where cold air may enter where pipes are exposed. Check around electrical wiring which comes through the walls, dryer vents, and pipes. By blocking as much wind as possible, you’ll lessen the chance of the pipes freezing and bursting.
If the temperature is expected to get unusually frigid, here is what to do. Leave a trickle of hot and cold water running in at least one sink on an outside wall. A slight trickle will keep the water pressure from building up if the pipe does freeze Doing this may be just enough to keep a frozen pipe from bursting. Only do this in areas where you think the pipes might freeze. The water run even at a trickle is still wasting water.
6. Open the doors and forget the torch.
If you have un-insulated pipes under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open. Leaving them open will allow the warm air from the house to heat the pipes and keep the water flowing.
If a pipe is frozen, don’t use a torch, you will damage the pipe and possibly cause a fire. Use a hot air dryer or heat gun set on medium heat.
7. Protect your hose and cover your tap.
If you are not using your garden hose during the winter, disconnect it, turn the water off to the faucet and drain it.
If you leave a faucet active for whatever reason, remove the garden hose between uses. Then put an insulated cover over the tap to keep it from freezing. A faucet cover just slips over the faucet head and is secured with string ties.
8. Not too low.
Before you leave home, keep the thermostat set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. When leaving your home for an extended period, ask family or a neighbor to check on your home periodically. You want to have someone monitoring the temperature as often as possible.
If you are going on vacation during the winter, and no one is available to check your home, you can always drain the system. If there is no water in the pipes, there is nothing to freeze.
It’s a relatively simple procedure, just turn off the main water supply valve, mentioned in tip number one. Then open all the hot and cold water faucets until no water comes out and then turn all faucets off.
So there you have it, 8 Proven Ways to Protect Your Pipes from Freezing.
No one wants to experience a broken water pipe. By getting ready for the first frost, you’ll be well on your way to avoiding a disaster.
Here is the other repair option I spoke about earlier.
You may have seen it on tv.
According to their website, here are some of the things it will repair, gutters, downspouts boats, kayaks, personal watercrafts, canoes, outdoor equipment, mobile homes, RVs & campers,PVC & plumbing pipes, sprinkler systems, pools and spas, windows, doors, walls, seams, vents, air ducts, HVAC s creates a super strong, waterproof seal, DIY projects and so much more!
You can find it ….Here!