Keeping Your Pipes from Freezing in the Winter
One of the dangers of frozen pipes is that they can explode and burst. This happens because the water inside the pipes expands as it freezes.
There is nothing worse than coming home from a much needed vacation to a warm tropical getaway, and finding your house flooded because the pipes burst. At this stage there is little solace knowing there are ways to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting during the winter.
Even while you're on vacation and go for an extended period of time.
Hopefully, this hasn't occurred yet though, and knowing how to prevent this tragedy can still be beneficial to you. If you are worried about your pipes freezing this winter, then keep reading.
Why Freezing Pipes Burst
One of the dangers of frozen pipes is that they can explode and burst. This happens because the water inside the pipes expands as it freezes. Regardless of the material, eventually the pressure from the expanding ice will be too much and the pipe will burst open.
As the ice is warmed by the heat in the house it melts and begins to pour inside. Welcome home to a flooded house. But what causes the pipes to freeze in the first place.
There are a few reasons that the water in pipes can freeze and cause the pipe to burst:
• Sudden exposure to severe cold
• No insulation in unheated interior areas
• No insulation on pipes that run against exterior walls
These common causes also have common solutions.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
When it comes to ensuring your pipes don't freeze their area few tricks and tips. There are even extra precautions you can take while you are away on vacation for any length of time.
Protecting Your Pipes
The best and most effective way to protect your pipes against freezing is to invest in pipe insulation. Just by simply insulating your pipes properly against exposure to extremely cold temperatures will help to prevent your pipes from freezing.
Pipe insulation is available in a variety of materials and can be used to wrap around the pipes themselves or to insulate the room in which the pipes reside. If the pipes are in a basement with no heat than, depending on the size of the basement, a combination of insulating the basement and certain pipes might be the best option.
Even simple things like opening kitchen and bathroom cabinets where plumbing is located can help. Be sure to move and cleaning chemicals and agents out of the reach of small children and pets if necessary. But, opening the cabinets will allow the warmer air in the house to reach the pipes better and circulate around them.
Keeping the heat at a constant temperature throughout the day and night will keep water flowing through the pipes. Flowing water is less likely to freeze.
For extremely cold nights allow your faucets to slowly drip overnight. Even slowly flowing water is better than stagnant water when it comes to preventing freezing.
What to Do While Away on Vacation
Often time people forget that their house needs to be prepared for them to be gone in order to prevent catastrophes like frozen and burst pipes.
One of the reasons frozen pipes is such a risk, even with pipe insulation, while away is the lack of body heat in the house. You never really know how much heat we put off. Especially families are living in a house.
However, while you are gone that heat is gone as well. To counteract this set the thermostat to no lower than 55 degrees but preferably closer to 60 or 65. If your thermostat has an energy saver feature this would be the time to use it.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
Should you come home and find your pipes frozen but thankfully haven't burst yet, there is hope. In the event your pipes are frozen try these tips for thawing them out:
• Leave the faucet on while thawing the affected pipe
• Frozen pipes are typically located along exterior walls, start there.
• Once located begin thawing with a hair dryer or other heat source.
• Do not use blow torches or open flame sources of heat
• Apply heat until the full water pressure is restored
• The ice melts the water will flow out of the faucet
While you may be counting your lucky stars that the pipes didn't burst despite them being frozen don't celebrate just yet. There's really no way to tell how long your pipes have been frozen or how close they are to bursting. The sooner you get to work thawing, the sooner you can get to that celebrating.