Prevent Frozen Pipes
If you live in one of the areas of the United States that are akin to living in the tundra, frozen pipes during the winter can be a real concern. High winds and an extended period of sub-zero temperatures set up the perfect conditions for your pipes to freeze. Frozen pipes are more than just an inconvenience; a frozen pipe can burst and cause water damage to your home, especially if you don't notice it right away. Here are four tips to help prevent your home from being affected:
Run The Tap
Keep one of the faucets that are against an exterior wall open. You don't need to run it full force, just turn it on enough to allow a thin stream of cold water about the diameter of a pencil to run constantly. Flowing water takes longer to freeze than stagnant water in the pipes. If you notice the water is becoming sluggish and the flow slowing, turn it on a bit more. Check with your water company, too. Many times they will cover the meter difference during a severe cold spell.
Keep Cabinet Doors Open
It can get cold behind closed doors. By keeping the cabinet doors open, they will heat up like the rest of your home. This is especially important for the doors under the kitchen sink. Be sure to relocate any cleaning supplies if you have young children or pets in the house. The same rule and precautions apply to the bathroom. Some people also tend always to keep the bathroom door closed to keep out wandering toddlers and pets. Get a baby gate if need be and keep the door open when not in use.
Insulate Your Pipes
Home improvement stores have special tubular insulation for pipes that is split down the middle. You simply open it up and slip it around the pipe. Do this for every exposed pipe, especially those on exterior walls.
Keep Your Garage Door Closed
If you have an attached garage, you likely have pipes that share a wall with the main home. By keeping the door closed, you can prevent a cold air vortex from circulating around your garage, leading to frozen pipes. You will also save on your heating bills by not creating a heat sink.
If your pipes do become frozen, don't attempt to thaw them out by using a blow torch or an unattended heat source such as a space heater. Every winter, people sadly inadvertently burn their homes down by doing this. Call a plumbing company instead.