How to Protect Your Plumbing This Winter

By November 20, 2014Plumbing

As the days of autumn give way to the chill of winter, I doubt the thought of, “are my pipes going to burst this winter?” has crossed your mind. But you’re in the luck. The thoughtful folks at B.R. McGinty have, and we’re here to tell you how you can prevent a winter nightmare and enjoy all the delights that winter has to offer in comfort.

What causes pipes to burst in Arkansas

For starters, plumbing pipes in Arkansas are usually placed outside of the home and are not insulated. This is a common practice due to the simple fact that cold snaps don’t happen very often. Extended periods of time where the temperature holds at a temperature of 20°F or lower don’t happen enough to warrant the extra expense.

Preventing winter pipe trouble

The best way to guarantee that your plumbing pipes don’t burst this winter would be to re-route any vulnerable pipes into heated areas of your home, but that would be rather expensive. The next option would be to place insulation around all at-risk pipes, making sure there are no gaps in the insulation so that the pipe is entirely covered and none of it is exposed to the elements.

Also, if the exterior of your home has any cracks or holes that cold air can penetrate and potentially freeze your water pipes, be sure to fill those in. Even plumbing in the interior of your home are vulnerable. These pipes are usually ones that are close to exterior walls with cabinets above. The empty space in the cabinet can potentially trap cold air and lead to freezing pipes. An easy way to remedy this is by keeping the cabinet doors slightly open to allow that air to escape.

If you’re going out of town for an extended period of time during the winter, the best way to guarantee that your pipes won’t burst while you’re gone is to completely drain your entire water system. You would start by turning off all the water that is coming into your home at the main valve. Then run the faucet for every sink, shower, or hose in your house until the water stops. Make sure to do it for both hot and cold water lines. Then when the water stops it means there is no longer water in your lines. Leave the faucet valves marginally open so that if there’s even the smallest chance of an ice blockage, the air pressure can still escape.

One of the easiest ways to prevent a pipe from bursting is by leaving the faucet valve barely open to let the air pressure escape. The water should slowly drip out of the faucet. We realize the potential loss of water, but it will be far less than if your pipes were to burst during a cold snap. Generally, a water pipe doesn’t burst from ice expanding so much that it causes the pipe to shatter, but instead, water pipes usually burst further down the line where too much air pressure has built up and it has nowhere to escape.

Call B.R. McGinty first!

Lastly if you suspect that there is a blockage don’t attempt to melt it with an open flame, simply call the professionals of B.R. McGinty at 501-847-6800 to take care of the situation for you. We have a 24 hour plumbing service and will be there to make sure that you and your family are safe and sound.