There is still plenty of winter left and homeowners are worried about old man winter interrupting their flow. What are the effects of freezing weather on plumbing?
When water freezes, it expands. If your pipes freeze, they could burst due to this expansion. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent frozen pipes.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
With proper insulation, you’ve gone a long way to prevent your pipes from freezing. In order to ensure that your water pipes are properly insulated, perform an inspection of all the unheated areas of your home. Pipes in unheated areas, such as basements, crawlspaces, and garages should be insulated. Check your local hardware store for inexpensive insulating sheaths to wrap around pipes. If you have any outdoor faucets, you’ll want to insulate those as well.
If you feel iffy about performing an inspection or insulating on your own, contact your local plumber for advice, as well as help accessing out-of-reach or complicated pipes.
2. Seal Air Leaks
Head into your bathroom and kitchen in search of places where cold air could be entering your home through the pipes or electrical connections. By using caulk, expandable spray foam, loose insulation, and foam gaskets for your electrical outlets, you can cover up these areas and prevent cold air leaks into the home.
3. Open Cabinets
When the temperatures begin to drop, open up the cabinets in your bathroom and your kitchen. This will help warm air from the home circulate around your pipes and prevent them from succumbing to freezing temperatures.
4. Trickle Warm Water
When freezing temperatures hit, offer your pipes some running warmth by trickling warm water through the faucets (run both hot and cold lines). The only way to freeze moving water is with extremely low temperatures. This light and sustained trickle will help prevent freezing pipes. A little water waste is much better than a ruptured pipe, which could leak hundreds of gallons of water into your home. If you are feeling uneasy about water down the drain, simply place an item in your sinks to catch the water and reuse it later to water your plants.
5. Follow the 55° Rule
It’s important to always follow the 55° rule. Even if you are away from the home, do not turn your thermostat off, but instead leave it at 55° or higher. If there is a freeze warning in effect, set your thermostat a little higher (at least 60°).
If you are leaving the home for a substantial period of time, an extra preventative step is needed:
- Turn off your main water supply and drain your faucets and toilets.
- If you drain your pipes, make sure you turn off the power or gas to your hot water heater as well.
6. Plumbing Maintenance
OnTime Service offers home maintenance plans and annual electrical, HVAC and plumbing services. The best way to prevent emergencies is to call the professionals. It is highly recommended that you schedule 2 HVAC tune-ups a year, in addition to your annual plumbing and electrical inspections.
Your pipes have nothing to fear this winter if you monitor them and follow preventative care measures.
Here’s a recap:
- Insulate Pipes
- Seal Air Leaks
- Trickle Warm Water
- Keep the House Above 55°
- Close and Seal Windows and Doors
- Monitor Weather Conditions
- Annual Plumbing Maintenance
If your pipes freeze, don’t panic:
- Keep your faucets open.
- Never use an open flame to thaw frozen pipes!
- Apply heat using a hair dryer, electric heating pad, or towels soaked in hot water. Work your way from the faucet end of the line to the frozen section.
- Turn up the thermostat and use a portable heater nearby.
If you cannot access the frozen section, call OnTime Service as soon as possible to thaw your pipes and prevent a rupture: 205-942-1405
SERVICE ON TIME OR WE PAY YOU $59!
Contact OnTime Service a call to schedule your on-time heating, plumbing, and electrical service at 205-942-1405.
Our experienced team of plumbers is fully trained to handle any plumbing system. As always, we will troubleshoot your home and give you straightforward pricing options before any work begins.