The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with in their home is frozen or burst pipes in the winter.
The best way to prevent an expensive plumbing disaster is to take steps to prevent your pipes from freezing during the cold winter months.
What Happens When Your Pipes Freeze?
Frozen pipes in your house can be a real inconvenience; an even bigger problem is the damage that freezing can cause.
As any home building contractor can tell you, pipes low to the ground or outside your home that contain water can be severely damaged based on how water expands when it freezes and turns into ice.
If there is no way for the water to escape before it freezes, the expansion will crack or break the pipes and leave you with a big surprise once the ice thaws and your water lines start flowing: leaking or totally gushing water from those broken pipes.
How Can You Prevent Pipes From Freezing?
The good news is that with a little bit of effort, you can stop that from happening by preventing your plumbing pipes from freezing.
Use these easy tips recommended by home building contractors to keep the water flowing in your pipes and prevent the damage that could occur if they freeze:
- Heat Tape - Use a heat tape on more susceptible pipes like ones that extend to the outside of the house, just be sure the tape is rated for indoor or outdoor use as necessary.
- Pipe Wrap or Insulation - Wrap exposed pipes with pipe wrap or foam pipe insulation.
- Seal Out Drafts - Seal the entry area around the pipes to reduce the amount of cold air that is around them.
- Shut and Empty Exterior Valves - Shut off any exterior valves from the interior valve; disconnect any hoses and open exterior valves so they can drain and the pipes remain empty.
- Keep the Thermostat Up - If you usually lower the thermostat at night, keep it up on nights when freezing is more likely.
- Let It Drip - Keep a trickle of water from the warm side running through your pipes to keep warm water moving slowly through them all night.
- Open the Doors - Keep the cabinet doors open to allow heat in for pipes on an exterior wall.
Little Measures Provide Important Protection
As simple as these little tips may be, they can provide essential protection in winter that will avoid a plumbing disaster in your old or newly built home.
Home builders install and insulate plumbing so it is protected as much as possible; however, it’s up to you to take these extra steps when the temperatures dip down well below freezing.
If you do, you won’t be making emergency calls to your plumber and home building contractor to come and repair all the damage that broken, frozen pipes can leave!