Winter can affect an entire home, including household items if people don’t prepare adequately. You also need to check your pipes as you get warm clothes, fix heaters, and stock up on firewood for the fireplace. Pipes could get frozen when there’s a drastic decrease in temperatures, substandard insulation, and when your thermostat isn’t charging.
During winter, water in the pipes freezes, resulting in serious plumbing problems like bursting pipes due to the expansion of ice, and your house gets flooded. Pipes can also rapture in heated places in case they’re fitted near cracks that let in cold air, and the ice blocks them with time. When your house is flooded, it can cause significant damage to your property and equally be expensive to repair. You can get help preparing for winter from various experts, including plumbing company in northern Virginia.
This article will discuss several ways to prevent your pipes from freezing during the winter season and what to do if they freeze. Read on to learn.
Cover Your Pipes
Pipes that are not covered or insulated, particularly those fitted in unheated places or the basement, quickly freeze and burst. Insulating your pipes is one of the most accessible and affordable ways of preventing freezing. You can choose from various insulating materials like fiberglass and foam.
Thus, check your house for cracks or holes that can let in cold air, and seal them by caulking or insulating them. Be keen on where pipes run from inside to outside the house.
Maintain A Consistent Temperature
During winter, it’s advisable to maintain a consistent temperature throughout to keep water in the pipes warm. If you are away from home during the winter season, leave your thermostat to around 55 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent freezing pipes.
Wrap The Pipes With Heat Tape
Wrap the pipes with heat tape or use heat cables controlled by a thermostat. Keenly follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install heat tape or heat cables. Preferably, get a professional from an approved organization to do the installation for you.
Close Your Garage Door
Keep your garage door closed throughout to prevent the pipes that go through there from exposure to cold air. Considering that most garage spaces are cold because of the smooth concrete, leaving the door open reduces the temperature even more, which gets the pipes frozen.
Insulate Areas With No Heat Access
Aside from closing your garage, cover it up, as well as areas with no heat access, like the basement and attic to keep the pipes that run through them warm. You can do the insulation DIY or hire an expert to help you.
Disconnect And Drain Hoses
As you near the winter season, disconnect and drain your hoses. Open the faucets outside the house to drain water and close shutoff valves that release water. Get faucet covers to avoid having frozen pipes. In addition, if you have water sprinklers follow the manufacturer’s instructions and drain them. Drain the pool together with the pipes that lead to the surrounding area.
Keep Interior Doors Open
In most homes, pipes are located in the central places, and since heat is not evenly distributed, pipes could freeze. Keeping interior doors open lets in the air such that warmth is circulated from one room to another, thus allowing even distribution. This way, pipes are kept warm and from the risk of freezing and bursting.
For instance, keeping the cabinets under the kitchen and bathroom sinks open allows heat from your home to circulate and warm the pipes, preventing them from bursting.
Close Up Any Crawl Spaces
Closing up crawl spaces keeps off cold air around the pipes. Get foam pieces the exact size of the crawl spaces and fit them using duct tape to avoid them from freezing this winter season.
Heat Cold Rooms
You may not have heaters in all the rooms and spaces in your house, and pipes could pass through some of them. You can heat the cold rooms by using fans to blow warm air. You can purchase heaters for these particular cold rooms for a more sustainable option.
In case your pipes freeze, follow the following steps:
Stop Your Water Supply
If your pipes froze and burst, turn off the water from the main valve in the house and leave the water faucets turned on. It’s good to have all household members know where the shutoff valve is and how to open and close it so that none of them finds themselves in a crisis in case of pipes bursting.
Use A Hair Dryer
When used with caution, a hairdryer is a good heat source to thaw a frozen pipe. Keep away from standing water and slowly warm the pipe from the area close to the faucet, then move towards the cold place. You can also wrap an electric heating pad around the area of the pipe that’s frozen or melt the ice using a portable space heater.
Keep The Faucet Open
As you warm your pipe in the thawing process, water will melt and flow through the frozen area. Keeping the faucet open will allow the running water through the pipe, which will help to melt more ice.
It doesn’t have to be all your faucets; identify those that receive water from exposed pipes and leave them running. It prevents the freezing of pipes because moving water has more internal energy than still water and produces some heat which hinders the formation of ice blockages. Running water from the faucets eases the buildup of pressure in cold pipes.
It’s crucial when you have freezing pipes in your home. Thus, if such a problem arises, follow the above steps for an immediate solution. If not, you can seek the help of the experts to do the job on your behalf.
To Wrap Up
It’s essential to do a winter inspection as one of the ways to prevent your pipes from freezing. The advisable thing to do is hire an expert to check so that the plumbing problems identified can be addressed way before the winter season. Leaving the heat on may sound expensive because your utility bills may be hiked. Compared to how costly repairs may be in case of burst pipes that cause flooding and damage to your property, that is way manageable.