How Do I Know if My Pipes
How to Prevent it and How to Fix it
When the temperatures start to drop during the Winter months, it’s not only important to maintain your HVAC unit efficiency to stay comfortable. There is another common issue that can be prevented with the right precautionary action, only this one refers to plumbing: frozen pipes. We all know that frozen pipes lead to bursted pipes which inevitably will cost you more money than you ever needed to spend. There are plenty of tips and tricks that you may not have thought of that we will point out to you in this post that could help you to save a lot of hassle and stress on your pocketbook.
Some people may not know that water expands when it freezes, and when confined to a plastic or metal pipe, you can imagine the pressure that builds up to result in it bursting. There are quite a few different kinds of pipes that are at risk of freezing that you should keep your eye on:
- Pipes that run along the exterior of the building.
- Outdoor hose bibs
- Swimming pool supply lines
- Water sprinkler lines
- Any pipes that can be found in unheated areas on the inside of your home, such as attics, basements or crawl spaces.
Water is a force of nature and will do what it will, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take preventative actions to protect your home. You’ll want to drain all of your swimming pool and sprinkler systems (if you’re unsure how to do it, there are usually instructions from the manufacturers). Fight the urge and do not use antifreeze when emptying or flushing out these systems; it is terrible and potentially harmful to the environment, pets, humans, wildlife and landscaping.
Store your outdoor hoses. Be sure that you are draining them first. Next, you will want to close off all valves that are supplying water flow to any outdoor hose bibs. After doing that, open up all hose bibs on the exterior of your house and leave them open. Doing this will allow for any water that may be left in your pipes to expand without running the risk of bursting them.
If it hasn’t been done already, it’s imperative that you insulate any water lines in your home; especially in the basement, attic and crawl spaces. By no means is this a permanent fix, but in the interim, newspapers and fabric can actually help to retain a level of heat necessary to keep your pipes from freezing; again, that is a temporary fix. If you have pipes located in your garage, be sure that you are keeping your garage door closed throughout the winter. Eliminate any sources of cold air that may be contributing to decreasing the temperature of your home’s piping: close off crawl spaces, shrink wrap your windows, plug up any drafty doorways, etc…
There are also some really interesting tips that will help that you may never have thought of. For instance:
- Before you go to bed set your faucets to a cold, very slow drip. Any running water, even a slow drip, will help to keep things moving inside your pipes and by proxy help prevent freezing.
- Overnight, open any cabinet doors that may be masking water lines (like under your kitchen sink) to allow for the warm air from your ventilation systems to access the pipes and keep them at a warmer temperature.
- Set your thermostat to a consistent temperature overnight and for when you are away from your home for extended periods of time (no lower than 56 degrees). This will ensure that as the temperatures drop overnight, all of the insulated piping throughout your home will maintain a temperature above freezing.
- It’s a good idea to locate your primary water valve and tag it so that in the event of an emergency you don’t find yourself struggling to find it and shut it off.
If you notice that your pipes have already frozen over, it is imperative that your first action be to turn off all water supply! After you do that, give us here at BR McGinty a call and our professionals will be sure to help you out speedily! Don’t forget that We offer 24 hour emergency plumbing services and are available any time for all of your needs through these bitterly cold winter months!