We don’t really have to explain why frozen pipes are seriously bad news—they can cause everything from leaks, to flooding, to irreparable damage to your plumbing system that requires extensive repairs. However, they’re not something you need to work incredibly hard to avoid. In fact, preventing freezing pipes is simple so long as you take the right precautionary measures. If you want to avoid letting your home fall victim to the devastation that frozen pipes can cause, this blog is for you.
Here are three valuable tips you can follow to prevent frozen pipes and keep your home safe and stress-free all winter long. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert South Jersey plumbers if you have any questions or need help with frozen pipes!
The overwhelming majority of your plumbing lines are either buried underground or run through your walls where they are protected from the worst of the cold. However, there are still small portions of your plumbing that may be exposed to the worst of the elements, and those are the spots that are the most likely to freeze. Lines that connect outdoor faucets to your water supply or carry water from underground lines into different areas of your home are by far the most at risk.
These are the areas that need to be insulated. Plumbing insulation is a type of foam or other insulative material that wraps around a plumbing line to keep it protected from the bitter cold of winter or scorching heat of summer. This is designed to prevent heat loss in your plumbing line, keeping the water from freezing over and thus preventing the possibly catastrophic damage of a burst pipe. Plumbing insulation is available at most home improvement stores for just a few cents per foot and is extremely easy to install with a roll of duct tape. Make sure your plumbing insulation is the right size; insulation that’s too small won’t completely cover the pipe and insulation that’s too large will leave an air gap. In both instances, the pipe will still freeze over.
Outdoor faucets are also made of metal and are attached to a metal pipe that’s packed with water, so logically they can freeze over as well and freeze over the water inside them. However, many people seem to forget about these fixtures during their home winterization process. Doing so can have costly consequences. Because these taps have a direct connection to a line that often feeds directly out of your walls, freezing over can cause a pipe to burst inside your walls, resulting in potentially serious damage to your home.
The solution is simple: much like you cover your exposed plumbing lines, also cover your exposed outdoor taps and faucets. When you’re picking up your plumbing insulation for your exposed pipes, also pick up a few faucet covers. They’re generally just a few dollars each and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate all sizes of outdoor faucets. Attaching them is simple: place the loop inside the cover around the handle of your faucet and then pull the strap from the outside and the cover should hold itself in place.
Freezing conditions rarely come on without warning. In fact, more often than not we usually have at least a few days’ warning as to when freezing conditions should be making their way through. This should give you plenty of time to not only make sure your pipes and taps are covered but to make sure that you set your taps and faucets to drip during freezing nights. Water that’s continually moving has a much more difficult time freezing, so keeping water flowing through your plumbing lines when freezing conditions are expected helps prevent the water in the lines from freezing at all.
You don’t have to leave your water running fast—even a slight drip will do the job. While it’s usually best to do this overnight, you may even need to keep the drip going during the day if conditions are expected to remain below freezing for the duration of the day as well. It may waste a little bit of water, but the cost of doing so is significantly better than the cost of having to replace a good chunk of your plumbing and a considerable part of your home should a line freeze over.
Got a burst pipe that needs an urgent fix? Has a frozen pipe created a leak somewhere in your home? Trust EnviroSafe Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, Water Treatment to come to you and get it fixed. Call now!