With winter comes some chilly weather. While you may have visions of a beautiful snowfall, it’s important that you ensure your home is ready to take on the cold weather. One of the most vulnerable systems of your home when it comes to cold weather is your plumbing. Here is why you need to maintain your pipes during winter.
The Disaster of Frozen Pipes
Every year, more than 250,000 homes experience frozen pipes. These repair bills can get quite costly. Water is an extremely dangerous disaster that can lead to exponential damage very quickly. When water becomes frozen due to freezing temperatures, it will naturally expand.
When water is inside of your piping, this can lead to an unwanted expansion and a burst pipe. When your pipe bursts, it can allow tons of water to seep out into your home. It doesn’t take long for water to damage the structural components of your home and all of your precious family heirlooms. Restoration costs can be extremely expensive as water can quickly lead to toxic mold and mildew.
Regular Examination is a Must
Leak detection is your best form of early warning that you have a problem. Whenever temperatures dip below freezing, it’s a good idea to inspect your piping. You’ll want to look for any potential leaks, bulging of the pipe, or extreme coldness. As soon as you notice an issue, it’s best to call in a licensed plumber to get it fixed before it gets worse. Be sure to shut off the water supply to any leaking pipes that you detect.
Insulation Can Save You Thousands in Water Damage Expenses
One of the best ways to mitigate your risk of frozen pipes is to install insulation. There are various forms of insulation on the market that you can easily install. A popular option is tubular insulation. This is simply a long tube that has a slit, which makes it easy to slide over your piping. You’ll want to cut the tube to the proper length of your pipe and install it.
Another option is to wrap your pipe in insulation tape. These come in all different sizes and colors. Pay special attention to applying this tape to areas of exposed piping throughout your home and garage. If you can spare the added expense, another great option is to install heat cables. These are adhered directly to your piping and are attached to a thermostat. Whenever the thermostat senses that your piping is too cold, it will turn on the heat to keep them from freezing.
Freezing Temperature Pipe Maintenance
When temperatures do dip down below freezing, there are some necessary maintenance tasks that you’ll need to perform on your piping to help reduce their risk of freezing. Piping that runs under counters and vanities should have the doors opened up so that warm air can penetrate the pipes.
Exposed piping is common in specific areas of the home, like the garage, basement, and attic. Exposed piping is considered piping that isn’t exposed to an adequate heat source. It’s best to provide supplemental heat to these exposed areas when temperatures reach extreme levels. You can easily provide heat with a space heater.
Be sure to keep your garage doors closed during cold snaps to prevent cold air from seeping in. Another great option when you don’t have access to these other methods of freeze prevention is to let your faucet drip. The constant movement of water through the pipe can help to keep it from freezing during frigid temperatures.
Install a Frost-Free Outdoor Faucet
Outdoor faucets are particularly susceptible to cold temperatures. Once the water starts freezing in the outside portion of your pipe, it only takes a short while for the water inside of your home to start freezing. You can easily prevent this problem by installing a frost-free outdoor faucet.
These faucets are specifically constructed to have their most vital components further up the piping inside of your home. Additionally, they’re installed at a downward angle to allow excess water inside of the piping to drain adequately during the winter season.
If you don’t use your outdoor faucets during winter and don’t want to invest in a frost-free option, then you’ll need to prep your outdoor faucet for the colder weather. First, you’ll want to locate the shut-off valve inside of your home for that section of piping.
Once the valve is shut, it’s time to drain it. You can do this via the bleeder valve located on the shut-off valve. This will help to remove any excess water that’s inside of the piping so that it doesn’t freeze up when cold weather hits your home.