Cold temperatures can be devastating for your plumbing if you are not prepared for it. The low temperatures can cause water pipes to freeze, and a freezing pipe could have a lot of pressure build up inside. With enough pressure buildup, a frozen pipe can also burst, leading to serious flooding throughout the house.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure that the pipes stay warm enough above the freezing point throughout the coldest months. In this post, we are going to talk about some of the most effective methods to prevent your pipes from freezing, what you should do if the pipes ever freeze, and another crucial aspect of caring for your home’s plumbing and water supply.
Frozen Pipes Are Not Just Cold Climate Problems
It is a common mistake to think that frozen pipes can only become a problem in homes located in cold climates. Homes that are not in cold climates can be more vulnerable to frozen pipes. Pipes in hot climates do not have proper insulation against frigid temperatures. If the area is hit by abnormally cold weather, the pipes could be at risk of freezing and bursting.
6 Tips to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
Without further ado, we will discuss the six tips to prevent your pipes from freezing.
1. Keep the heat on
If you are leaving your home for a long time, make sure you keep the heat turned on in your property. It may seem like the wrong thing to do, considering how utility bills can pile up. However, keeping your home heated can prevent the pipes from freezing. If the pipes freeze and burst, the water damage to the home and your possessions could be far greater than the utility bills.
2. Allow some water to drip
If you’re afraid that the water will freeze inside the pipes, you could consider keeping a faucet open just enough to make the water trickle. Allowing the faucet to remain open can relieve pressure in the system. Remember that pressure buildup between the blockage and faucet causes pipes to burst. Allowing the faucet to remain open can prevent the pressure from building up too much. If you have both hot and cold water coming out from the same faucet, we recommend turning both taps slightly on and favor the warm water slightly more than the cold water.
3. Leave the doors inside open
Many homes are designed with pipes located in cabinets. It is a good idea to keep the cabinet doors open when the temperature drops. The heat from the rest of the house can help in keeping the pipes warm. You should also keep all interior doors open so that heat can flow throughout the home.
4. Seal up all the cracks and holes
Seal any holes and cracks where the pipes run through walls or floors, especially where the hole lets in cold air. Spraying foam insulation or caulk to fill the gaps works well to the cold air and protects the pipes. Cold outdoor air that gets in through holes and gaps can make cabinet compartments where pipes run through colder.
5. Apply heating tape on the pipes
Heating tape is a miracle worker because it acts like electric blankets for pipes. It supplies heat directly to the pipes, keeping them warm during cold weather. This can be an excellent and effective solution for short sections of pipes that are at a higher risk of freezing and easily accessible for you to install.
6. Add more insulation
Pipes located in areas without proper insulation (like the attic or the basement) present an added risk of freezing and bursting. These areas of the house can be much colder than the rest of the house and may need extra insulation to keep them from freezing. You can fit pipes with rubber or fiberglass sleeves to decrease their chances of freezing. You can also use additional insulation to the walls and ceilings to keep pipes warm and prevent them from freezing.
What to Do When Your Pipes Freeze?
Suppose that you took all these preventive steps and the pipes still freeze. In that case, the first thing you need to do is do not panic.
Just because the pipes are frozen does not mean that they have already burst. Here are a few things you should try in case your pipes freeze up:
- Turn on the faucet. If nothing comes out, leave the faucet turned on and call a plumber.
- Do not use any electrical appliances where there is standing water because there is a risk of getting electrocuted.
- Do not try to use an open flame or torch to thaw the frozen pipes because that is a fire hazard. It is better to risk slight water damage than causing a fire that could burn down the house!
- You might be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hairdryer. Begin warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible to get a trickle going and work your way up to the coldest section of the pipe.
- If the water pipes have already burst, turn off the main shutoff valve, leave the faucets turned on, and call in the plumber.
Protecting your pipes from freezing is a crucial step in ensuring that you have a proper water supply running through your home, but it is not the only thing you need to do to have access to high-quality water.
Using a home water treatment system that filters the water from contaminants and reduces the hard water problem is also critical for a healthy and safe water supply throughout your house. Taking good care of your plumbing through these measures to prevent frozen pipes and using a whole-house filtration system can help you avoid having to call the plumber very often.
If you are concerned about the water quality from the municipal water coming to your home and need better access to safe water at home, feel free to contact us. We can guide you to the most suitable solution for your hard water problems from our wide range of water treatment solutions at Shell Water Systems.