Tips and Solutions on Preventing Frozen Pipes
Minimize the Risk of Freezing and Bursting Pipes
Every winter when the temperatures drop your water pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. There are a number of things you can do to minimize the risk of this happening. The first thing to do is get to know where the vulnerable areas in your home are, such as where pipes run outside the house and the coldest places in the house, which are usually outside walls, unheated rooms and basements and crawl spaces. Then get to work waterproofing and leak-proofing. Check where there are drafts of cold air round chimneys and flues and caulk and seal these.
Seal Air Leaks
Seal off air leaks. If you have a crawl space or a window that isn’t perfectly sealed then cold air can seep in; pipes near this cold area are more likely to freeze.
Locate Water Shut-off Valves
You need to know where the water shut-off valve is in your home as if the worst happens and a pipe does freeze or burst you can turn the water off straight away. Also find out where the main water valve and valve on your water heater are so that you can go straight to them in an emergency.
Insulate Exposed Pipes
Check for any exposed pipes and buy some insulation for them from a hardware store. You could also insulate your water meter; if this gets covered in snow don’t clear it off, as snow will insulate it.
Leave A Small Trickle of Water
Running water will help to prevent pipes freezing, so on extra cold nights you might want to leave a small trickle of water running through your faucets. This is a tip that keeps hot tubs in really cold regions from freezing. The cost of the extra water you would use is negligible against the cost of repairing a burst pipe.
Disconnect Outdoor Facet and Hoses
One of the things that people often forget is an outdoor faucet and hose. These need to be disconnected and the outside faucets covered to prevent them from freezing.
Keep the House Warm
If you are going away for any length of time, it is a good idea to keep the heating turned on to warm the house to at least 68 degrees. The heating then reduces the chances of frozen pipes. If you leave the doors on the cabinets below the sink open it will allow the warmth of the house to circulate through them. You can also turn off the water supply valves that lead to your washing machine.
Close and Seal Windows Near to Water Pipes
Any windows near to water pipes and any air vents need to be closed and sealed when temperatures are below freezing. Remember to re-open air vents when the weather warms up.
It is a good idea to monitor for the conditions that lead to pipes freezing. The first sign that water is freezing is that the water flow from a faucet is reduced. Check the water flow and pressure last thing at night and first thing in the morning. You should check the water pipes round the water meter and in unheated areas such as exterior walls and in crawl spaces frequently as these are the most vulnerable places when it starts to freeze.
A little forethought and common sense and not much effort can help to protect you from frozen or burst pipes when the temperatures fall this winter.