Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. When frozen pipes burst, they can cause significant water damage to your home.
The good news is that frozen pipes are one home disaster that can be prevented. Follow these easy steps to protect the pipes in your home from freezing this winter.
- Before freezing temperatures hit, make sure that your irrigation system has been properly winterized. Turn off the system at the main valve and open each zone valve until the entire system drains of water. After the system is drained, close each valve and leave the system shut off until spring.
- Disconnect garden hoses and insulate all outdoor faucets (hose bibs).
- Heat tape can be used to wrap interior and exterior pipes. Be sure to use products that are designed and approved for the intended use (indoor or outdoor). Closely follow all manufacturers' installation and operation instructions.
- Insulate exposed water pipes in the basement, attic, and crawl space.
- Know where your main water shutoff valve is located so you can quickly turn it off in case of emergency.
- Never set the thermostat in your house lower than 55°F in order to prevent frozen pipes.
- Open cabinet doors under sinks and appliances near exterior walls to keep pipes warm.
- Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside. Air leaks may be found around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep cold air out. During extreme temperatures, even a small opening can let enough cold air in to cause a pipe to freeze.
- Thaw frozen lines with a hair dryer, heater, or heat tape. Never use a torch or open flame and never use electrical appliances in areas of standing water.
*If you feel uncomfortable performing any of these recommendations, call a licensed plumber.
Our goal is to spread awareness of proper winter practices pertaining to household and landscape plumbing. Frozen pipes create an interruption to service as well as property damage and costly remediation.
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