Frigid winter weather can cause your household plumbing pipes to freeze, and in some cases, burst. Protecting your home's pipes from winter's icy grip is something you should think about before the cold winter winds blow. The following tips will help you safeguard your pipes from freezing and also guide you as to the best solutions to consider after the fact.
You know that your pipes are frozen when water no longer flows freely from the tap when turned on. During long stretches of very cold weather, keeping your faucets dripping may not be enough to prevent freezing. You should periodically run both the hot and cold water in order to purge your pipes of chilled water and replenish them with warmer groundwater. It is wise to run your faucets at full blast several times each day during abnormally cold days and nights.
If a pipe or faucet inside your house freezes, you can try thawing it with a hair dryer. Another method of thawing a frozen pipe involves heating water on the stove, then soaking rags in the hot water before wrapping them around the frozen sections of a pipe. When thawing any pipe, start nearest to the sink or the faucet, making sure the tap is open so that melting water can drip out.
Do not try to use a torch on copper pipes. This can cause them to explode. If a pipe in your house bursts, shut off the water at the main valve and call a professional plumber immediately. Some companies, like Seliga Heating and Cooling know how important it is to keep your pipes from freezing. This is especially important when winter comes around.
There are things that you can do to minimize the risk of damage to your pipes brought about by freezing temperatures. Use pipe sleeves, heat tape or other types of recommended pipe insulators on those pipes you believe to be most at risk. You can use sheets of newspaper as an extra layer of insulation for pipes facing outside walls or those located in the garage, basement or crawlspace. Keep your garage doors closed at all times if it contains any water supply lines. During very cold days and nights, keep your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open. This will allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes within them.
The expansion of freezing water puts a great deal of pressure on whatever is trying to contain it. According to the American Red Cross, pipes that are most likely to freeze are those that are exposed to cold, outside air. These would include pipes that supply garden hoses and swimming pools. To prevent these pipes from freezing, the Red Cross recommends draining water from swimming pool, garden and water sprinkler supply lines in accordance with the manufacturer's or maintenance company's directions.
Each winter, the pipes behind the walls and floorboards of your home are at risk of damage from frigid temperatures. Being prepared and informed might be the best remedy of all when it comes to avoiding the expense and inconvenience of frozen and bursting pipes. Following the above suggestions will go a long way toward preventing that mid-winter nightmare that all homeowners dread.