A Guide to Protecting Your Plumbing From Freezing Temperatures


Dealing with broken water pipes can be a messy and costly situation; however, it is manageable. According to Huntsville Utilities, there are six things a person can do to avoid the situation entirely and prevent pipes from freezing during the colder months.

• Keep the heating on – if you are planning on being away from home for a prolonged period of time, it is recommended that the thermostat is not set below 55 degrees.

• All the faucet to drip – when a faucet drips, it relieves any pressure being placed on the property’s water system. It is possible to leave only a single faucet dripping, but it needs to be in the correct location. If you know where water enters the home, it is recommended that you turn on the cold water faucet at the opposite end of the house; thereby, allowing the water to travel throughout the enter water system.

• Keeping the inside doors open – it is highly recommended that you leave your cabinet doors open. This will allow the heat from the rest of the house to keep the water pipes warm.

• Seal any cracks or holes – search for places on the outside or inside of the house where cold air can enter and surround pipes.

• Applying heating tape – there is a special form of electrical tape that can be applied directly to water pipes.

• Adding extra insulation – foam rubber or fibreglass sleeves can be placed directly on the pipes to insulate them from the cold. This is particularly important when heating pipes in basements and attics.

Don’t Forget About Outside

In addition to the tips offered above, here is a list of tips from the Glass Inspirations to prevent frozen pipes during cold temperatures.

• Removing, draining and storing hoses – it is recommended that you remove, drain and store the hoses used outdoors during this period. You should also close any inside valves supplying outside hose bibs. By disconnecting the hose and keeping the outside valve open, you will expand the pipe and remove any chance of the pipe breaking.

• Using a ‘pipe sleeve’ or heating tape – you can also utilise a ‘pipe sleeve’ as seen in the older home repair stores or heating tape to protect any exposed water pipes. In fact, a newspaper can also be used to offer some insulation or protection to exposed water pipes.

• Checking for water supply lines in unheated areas – it is important to check the unheated areas around the house for water supply lines. For example, looking in the basement, garage, crawl spaces, attic, bathroom cabinets and the under the kitchen sink. It is advised that all the cold and hot water pipes in these areas are insulated.

• Keep the garage doors closed – by keeping the garage doors closed you will reduce the amount of cold air sent into the water supply lines in that location.

• Let the faucet drip – when weather is icy, it is recommended that you allow cold water to drip from the faucet served by the exposed pipes. By running water through these pipes, even a trickle, you can prevent the pipes from freezing.

• Maintain the thermostat – it is important to keep the thermostat temperature at a set level during the day and night.

According to the Red Cross, if the faucets are turned on, and nothing comes out the pipes may have frozen. Should this occur, it is recommended that you leave the faucets open and contact a professional plumber. If you believe the pipe has burst, leave the faucets open but turn off the water at the shut-off valve.

How to Thaw The Frozen Pipes

• Keeping the faucet open – as the frozen pipes are being treated, the frozen area will begin to melt, and water will start flowing through. Running water through the pipe will assist in melting ice within the pipe.

• Sealing any leaks – it is advised that you seal leaks allowing cold air into the home where pipes are located. This is an issue surrounding dryer vents, electrical wiring, and water pipes.

• Applying heat to the pipe – application of heat to the frozen section of the pipe using either heating pads, hair dryers, portable space heaters, or towels soaked in warm water. Do NOT use any propane heaters, blowtorches, charcoal stoves or other open flames.

Categories: Home Decor

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