Tips For Preventing Water Pipes From Freezing
Winter weather can wreak havoc on the plumbing system of a home. Once those outside temperatures begin to dip down below freezing, there is a risk the water pipes may freeze and burst if not protected. This is especially true for water lines that run outside the home or inside the home in areas that do not stay heated regularly. These are some tips to help prevent your water pipes from freezing even during the coldest winters.
Disconnecting Water Hoses
Even though the actual spigot that provides water for your water hose is outside, the lines that connect it to your water source run inside or under your home. If water remains in the hose, this can cause damage to your water pipes. When water freezes, it expands and the pipes can easily burst.
To prevent this from happening, disconnect your water hose from the spigot after you have used it for the last time during the fall. Then turn off the shut off valve that allows water to flow to the spigot. Turn the spigot on and drain any remaining water to prevent it from freezing when the temperature drops. You may also want to install a faucet insulator on the spigot to prevent snow and ice from collecting in it when winter storms come.
Exposed Interior Pipes
Water pipes that are left exposed in unheated areas of your home, such as a garage, attic or crawl space, are also at a risk of freezing. These pipes can be wrapped with inexpensive foam insulation tubes that prevent them from freezing in mild to moderately cold weather.
However, if you have extensive time periods of very cold weather during the winter, it is best to invest in an electrically controlled heat tape to wrap exposed interior pipes. Electric heat tape has a built in thermostat that makes it kick on when the temperature drops to a certain level.
If pipes that run inside interior walls have frozen in the past, it is likely this may happen again. If you notice mold is growing on certain walls or moisture build-up is evident, this is a good sign that your pipes are not insulated properly. Over time, insulation in side the walls may begin to deteriorate and fall down so that pipes are no longer protected.
When this occurs, the only option may be to take down the sections of your wall covering and re-insulate the affected area. This not only protects the pipes, but can also make your home warmer once the damaged insulation is replaced and the wall covering has been put back in place.
For those who move to a warmer climate during colder weather, it is also very important to protect your pipes from freezing. Be sure to turn off the main water supply, flush all toilets and drain all faucets completely before leaving for the winter.
If, despite these tips, you find that your pipes are still freezing, click here for more info on plumbing repair.