When those frigid temperatures hit, it is not uncommon to forget about your pipes. While bundling up and shoveling the walkway might feel like a job well-done, there is more involved when it comes to maintaining your home during the winter. Unfortunately, there doesn’t have to be a blizzard or negative temperatures to experience a pipe freeze. Various wind exposures with temps even higher than 20 degrees could potentially wreak havoc. This can occur if your interior pipes are near a wall or general area that cold air can reach. Regardless of your pipes being in a heated area, the cold air seeping in through either cracks, or a generally cold space, can freeze them.
In fact, warmer climates are not invincible to this scenario, and can be even more susceptible to a water pipe freeze. Being in areas with higher temperatures leaves many homes unprotected against random fluctuations in weather. Being educated on how to properly take care of you water supply pipes should be crucial knowledge in every home.
HOW DO I KNOW?
One of the most common ways to discover an issue is to check your water flow. If there is little to no water coming from your faucet during low temperatures, you can assume there is an issue with the pipes. When you run your water and the flow begins to dwindle down to nothing, this becomes a very serious issue. When water freezes, it expands inside the pipe with immense pressure. Due to the pipes having no flexibility (typically made out of metal or plastic), they run the risk of bursting open. The aftermath of this is often expensive, because there are water leakages and flooding to consider. Avoiding this expensive disaster means keeping your pipes from reaching the too-cold point.
1. KEEP THEM WARM
Any cold air that might have access to the pipes via cracks in the walls or flooring should promptly be covered up. Seal up any opportunities that can leave your pipes vulnerable to ongoing cold air.Another simple way to keep them warm, is to leave the doors leading to the water pipe system open. This allows the air to circulate much more easily than if all your doors are sealing the coolness in. Additionally, if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, keeping the heat on inside your home is a key contribution. It might seem more budget friendly when your monthly bills come around, but having the heat on, even if at a lower temperature than you normally would set it at, helps keep the freezing at bay. Setting it above 50 degrees is typically a comfortable. number
2. LET IT DRIBBLE
During lower temperatures, turning the faucet on to a dribble allows the pipe to relieve pressure in its system. Turn on both the hot and cold faucets (or your single-handle faucets) to a slight degree. If a water supply pipe were to freeze, the pressure wedged between the blockage and the faucet itself is what causes a pipe burst. When the faucet is being run, even slightly, there is an outlet for the pressure to be released.
3. MORE INSULATION
It is not abnormal for certain places in your home to need extra insulation to preserve the pipe system. This is extremely helpful in most attics and basements, as often times they are not insulated correctly. It would be convenient if this was the only area that needed extra insulation, but while they are the most expected, they are not the only concerns. If there are any other places that could be vulnerable to the cold air, extra insulation is a solid preventative measures.
When it comes to your water pipe supply, it will always be worthwhile to lean on the side of caution. If you are unsure whether or not your pipes are vulnerable to freezing, we recommend contacting your local plumber to ensure this is matter is settled. At Graydon Faulstick Plumbing, we are equipped to assist you in your plumbing needs. You can reach us at 570-992-0447 or 610-381-4171 for more information.