The impending arrival of winter means two things:
- Temperatures are going to keep dropping
- Your chances of a pipe freezing and bursting is skyrocketing
Burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during the frigid months, and can cause thousands of dollars in property damage. Not something you want around the holidays (or ever, really).
The “temperature alert threshold” is considered to be 20℉, especially in areas where uninsulated pipes are running through uninsulated areas of wall. This means that the most at-risk areas are going to be the ones that are in unheated interior portions of the home, such as the basement, garage, or attic. But pipes running through exterior walls and cabinets can still freeze as well. To keep your water running (where it’s supposed to) follow these simple tips!
Leave the heat on. While it may be tempting to turn the thermostat down at night or when you’re not home, a sudden temperature drop could freeze your pipes and give you an unpleasant surprise in the morning. This is especially important if you’re going on an extended stay anywhere. The last thing you want to do when coming back from vacation is deal with the mess left from a burst pipe. By maintaining a stable temperature inside, you don’t have to worry when the outside temp drops.
Open interior doors. As mentioned, pipes can be located behind cabinets. While it may seem strange to leave cabinet doors open, it could save you from a burst pipe. Just watch your head! It is also helpful to leave all rooms open so heat can flow freely throughout the house.
Let the water run. Okay, we know that a drippy faucet can be annoying. But letting your faucets maintain a light dripping can keep water flowing gently, which relieves pressure off the system. When a pipe bursts, it’s because of the pressure that builds between the blockage and the faucet. Letting a faucet drip relieves this pressure.
Insulate. Certain areas of your house, such as the basement or attic, may not have proper insulation. Pipes in these areas will be much more prone to freezing, and this is where some extra insulation can really help. If you’ve had problems with pipes freezing anywhere in your home, however, extra insulation can be the fix. You can also fit pipes with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves if the pipes are exposed.
Apply heating tape. Heating tape can be a great way to keep shorter, easily accessible sections of pipe from freezing. It applies heat directly to the pipe, like an electric blanket. There are two types of heating tape: one senses when the pipe is getting too cold, and turns itself on and off as needed. The other must be plugged in when needed and unplugged when not in use. Just like space heaters, heating tape can be hazardous, so it’s important to follow their directions and safety instructions completely.
Cleaning up the mess from burst pipes is an expensive, time consuming ordeal. Cleanup costs, coupled with repair costs of fixing the burst pipe can add up quickly. Plus, the added stress is something that no one wants to deal with.
Whether you have had pipes freeze in the past or you’re just concerned about it during the frigid months, follow these helpful tips to keep your house warm and dry.
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