Properly preparing your water pipes for colder temperatures can help prevent your plumbing from freezing during the winter. Water expands as it freezes exerting tremendous pressure on metal and PVC pipes. As a result, frozen pipes can crack and leak causing expensive water damage.
Pipes Most Likely to Freeze
Some pipes are more susceptible to freezing because they are exposed to the elements. These include:
• Outdoor water pipes, such as hose spigots, sprinkler systems and swimming pool supply lines
• Water lines that run though unheated spaces like attics, basements, crawl spaces and garages
• Pipes that run through exterior walls that have little or no insulation
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Before the onset of winter, follow these tips to protect your pipes from freezing.
• Read and follow the manufacturer’s or installer’s instructions for draining and winterizing sprinkler systems and swimming pools.
• Remove, drain and store outdoor garden hoses. Shut off the indoor valves supplying outdoor spigots. Open the spigots, and allow the water to drain out. Leave the spigots open so that any remaining water has room for expansion.
• Insulate exterior walls, attics, basements and crawl spaces to raise the temperature in these unheated areas. Add insulation, such as heat tape or a foam sleeve, around water pipes that cannot be relocated.
• Some areas of your home are typically colder than other locations. This includes the space inside the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. Relocate any cleaners or other potentially harmful chemicals so that they are out of the reach of children and pets. Set a space heater nearby.
• When temperatures are extremely cold, allow faucets served by exposed pipes to drip slightly. The flowing water helps to keep pipes from freezing.
• On colder nights, keep the thermostat set to higher daytime temperatures. By temporarily stopping the energy-saving technique of lowering the thermostat, you may experience a higher heating bill but will avoid the costly expense of repairing and cleaning up after a broken water pipe. Set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit so that walls stay warm and protect the pipes inside the unheated space.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
If you have little or no water when you open a faucet, this may indicate that your pipe is frozen. Leave the faucet open. Beginning near the faucet, gently warm the pipe using warm towels or a hair dryer set on low. Pay close attention for leaks as the ice inside the pipe thaws. If you notice a leak, turn off the water to prevent further damage.
Call Professional Help
If you experience leaks or a broken pipe, contact us immediately. At Aqua Solutions, we realize that some plumbing problems cannot wait until normal hours, so we offer emergency repair services. You can also schedule an appointment for us to come by and insulate your at-risk plumbing. Whether you need preventative help or repair services, the trained technicians at Aqua Solutions are standing by to help.