Frozen pipes pose a serious risk to your property. Not only will frozen pipes leave you without running water until they thaw out, but they can also burst. Burst pipes can lead to serious indoor flooding and water damage, with the average cleanup costing $15,000. Coming home to a flooded kitchen or home is immensely stressful.
Rather than deal with the immense expense and inconvenience that result from burst pipes, it is best to avoid letting your pipes freeze and burst in the first place. Here is how to do just that:
Insulate Your Pipes
Insulated pipes stay relatively warm even in very cold weather, and are therefore much less likely to freeze or burst. Pipe insulation most often comes in the form of sleeves that can be purchased at most major hardware stores. You can apply them to the pipes yourself or hire your local plumbing company to do so for you. Some people find that even something as basic as taping newspaper to your pipes provides decent insulation.
Keep the Heat on
Keeping your home at a comfortably warm temperature, even while you are away at work, will counteract the frigid outdoor temperatures and keep your pipes safe. Keeping your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit even when you're away from the house is a good rule of thumb.
Open Cabinet Doors
Opening the cabinets where your pipes are located, for example in your bathroom and kitchen, allows warm air to circulate around the pipes. This helps prevent them from ever freezing.
Don't Ignore Cracks or Holes in the Walls
Holes or cracks in the walls near your pipes can let in cold air, decreasing the temperature of your pipes and increasing the risk of freezing. Dedicating a little time to looking for and caulking or sealing any interior or exterior holes and cracks can save you a lot of time and money in the long run by preventing frozen pipes.
Run Some Water
No one likes to waste water, but the truth is that running water helps prevent your pipes from freezing. In order to take advantage of this without being wasteful, simply turn on the water in all of your sinks to just barely a trickle. The small amount of water is less wasteful than running your taps at full blast, but is still enough to help prevent frozen pipes.
Drain All Hoses and Sprinklers
Before the weather becomes frigid outside, drain the water out of all your exterior hoses and sprinklers. Once they are drained, be sure to wrap them up and store them in a garage or shed rather than leaving them outdoors. This not only helps keep them from freezing, but will also allow your hoses and sprinklers to last longer. Leaving them in the cold can cause tiny pin-prick sized holes to form, rendering your hoses useless once the weather turns warm again.
Shut Off the Main Water Valve
If you are going away on vacation during the cold winter months, you might want to consider shutting off the water entirely. This way you don't have to worry about your pipes potentially freeing at all while you are gone.
It's always a good idea to know where your main water valve is located, and how to shut it off. Not only is this handy for avoiding frozen pipes while you're away, but it's also necessary information should you ever have a plumbing emergency.
By following these seven tips, you will gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing you've done everything you can to avoid burst pipes, thus protecting your property. For more information and tips, contact local plumbing services.