Tips for How to Prevent Frozen and Burst Pipes
Cold weather and short, gray days already make winter pretty unpleasant, and having to deal with frozen or burst pipes in your home can lead to even more frustration. However, with proper care and maintenance, you won’t have to worry about plumbing issues this winter. Check out these tips for winterizing your plumbing to ensure a safe, comfortable season for your home and your family.
LOCATE YOUR MAIN WATER VALVE
Before winterizing your plumbing, make sure that you know the location of your main water valve. This knowledge is crucial because if your pipes do end up freezing or bursting, you have to know where to shut off the water supply before doing any repairs. When you locate the main water valve, put a tag on it and inform family members, or whoever shares the home with you, of its location in case of an emergency.
DISCONNECT EXTERIOR WATER SOURCES
You won’t be washing your car or watering the garden during the winter, so before the temperatures get cold, be sure to disconnect the garden hose and shut off the water supply to the hose. You can also put a no-freeze protection cover on top of the outdoor faucets. If you don’t disconnect the hose or the exterior water supply and it does freeze, you can have a big problem on your hands in the spring when the ice finally thaws. When this happens, it can drain water back into your home’s foundation and cause major damage.
INSULATE YOUR PIPES
Sometimes pipes are located within exterior walls, making them particularly vulnerable to temperature changes. This is why it’s important that those walls are properly insulated. Check that your home is properly insulated first, and then examine areas that are still prone to getting very cold during the winter: the attic, basement, or crawlspace. If you have exposed pipes in these areas, you can use various forms of pipe insulation— electric heat cables, foam covers, or foil pipe wrap– to cover the pipes. Also identify any places in the attic or basement that may let in cold air and use caulk to seal cracks.
LET FAUCETS DRIP AND OPEN YOUR CABINETS
When you know that the temperatures are going to dip below freezing, there are a few preventative measures you can take to ensure your pipes don’t freeze or burst. Turn your faucets on and let them drip slowly (about 5-10 drips per minute). This prevents water pressure from building up, which is the main cause of frozen pipes bursting. By opening up sink cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom, you expose the pipes to warm air, which can prevent them from freezing.
Winter is already a pain, but it doesn’t have to be made any worse by frozen or burst pipes. These tips can help prevent winter plumbing emergencies and prepare you for a worry-free spring. Get more tips on home maintenance and repairs at South Sound Inspections.