Frozen Pipes What To Do And What Not To Do In The Winter

Dated: 01/24/2018

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Frozen Pipes? What To Do And What Not To Do In the Winter

Image titleEveryone loves having hot water in the winter, especially if your heater uses it to warm up your home. However, nobody enjoys a burst or frozen pipe, and winter is a particularly likely time for these problems. Luckily, there are certain things you can do to avoid major pipe trouble this winter, and to solve it safely if it does occur. The following guide will walk you through exactly what to do (and what not to do) to protect your plumbing during this year’s deep freeze.

The Problem of Frozen Pipes

It is important to understand the potential damage that can be done when the pipes in your building freeze. Often, frozen pipes crack, which can cause up to 250 gallons of water to spray out every day. This can lead to a variety of problems besides flooding. You may also find the structure of the building compromised by rot, problems with your electrical systems, and an infestation of dangerous mold.

How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

Prevention is much easier than cure, so let’s start by discussing the best ways to keep your pipes from freezing in the first place. There are three common causes of frozen pipes:

  • Abrupt drops in temperature

  • Poorly insulated buildings

  • Improperly set thermostats

You can’t do much about a change in the weather, but the last two items on that list are definitely preventable. The first thing you’ll want to do is insulate your pipes. The pipes most likely to freeze will be the exposed ones, which are normally in more remote areas of a building. Check attics, crawl spaces, and closets—then wrap them with heat tape or cables that have been approved by independent testing organizations.

You should also make a point of sealing leaks in your home where cold air can enter and affect infrastructure. Purchase some caulking or insulation material and plug up those holes, especially the ones near vents, pipes, and wires. Finally, make sure to drain the water from pipes connected to any outside faucets on your property. Failure to do so can cause the portion of each pipe immediately inside your home to freeze.

Image titleOnce winter arrives, there are a few other things you should do to keep your pipes protected—particularly if the winter in question is harsh. Consider letting your faucets drip a little overnight, as long as the water is warm. Remember: you don’t want to run water all night while you’re sleeping (that’s incredibly wasteful), but even a trickle of warm water can stop the water in your pipes from freezing.

Lastly, pay attention to your thermostat settings. Many people try to save money by turning their thermostats down in the winter, but go too low and it could put your pipes at risk. Make sure that your thermostat is always set to at least 55 degrees (12 degrees celsius). It’s important to avoid using space heaters to try to keep your pipes at the right temperature as this may cause fires.

Frozen pipes are most common in colder regions of the country, but they can happen practically anywhere and it pays to be prepared when winter arrives. Frozen pipes are not only annoying, but they can permanently damage your pipes. Use the tips listed above to ensure that you won’t have to deal with a major leak or flood this winter, and enjoy your hot water all the way till spring.

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Irene Medina PA CRS GRI CDPE GREEN

IRENE MEDINA "Standing by YOU Every Step of the Way!" A Passion for Education and Sustainable Living Irene's passion for education and sustainable living are what make her stand out from the ....

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