5 Tips For Winterizing Your Pipes
Contrary to popular belief, water pipes don’t burst at the point where water freezes, but somewhere between the freeze and a closed faucet such as the faucets in the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room or even the backyard spigot. When the lines freeze, pressure begins to build at the point of the blockage. Since this pressure has nowhere to go, it can ultimately come right through the pipe walls. Of course, when pipes burst, the result can often be extensive water damage. The good news is that this doesn’t have to happen to your pipes. With the proper planning, winterizing your pipes can ensure that your water pipes will weather whatever mother nature throws at us this winter.
Insulate Your Pipes
Your pipes are vulnerable to freezing when the temperatures drop to 20F or below. Installing insulation on your pipes will provide you with a first line of defense against those extremely cold temperatures. If you live in an area where cold temperatures are the norm, take extra care to add additional insulation to prevent even lower than normal temperatures from damaging pipes. Any pipes that are located in unheated areas of your home should be insulated as these are the ones most likely to freeze. Any hardware or big-box DIY store will have the materials you need to wrap your pipes adequately. Pipes should be wrapped in insulation tubes that are made of polyethylene or fiberglass.
***** Be sure to measure the diameter of your pipes to ensure that you acquire the right size.
*****It is also very important to pay close attention to areas in your plumbing that have had recent problems, as these may be far more susceptible than the others.
Keep A Faucet Dripping
When temperatures are expected to drop below freezing (32F), it is crucial that you open faucets along the exterior walls of your home and allow for a small, steady drip. Allowing the faucets to slowly drip water eliminates the pressure build-up that can cause pipes to rupture. The drip will not eliminate the potential for freezing, but it can reduce the chance that they burst.
Another easy safeguard for your pipes is to introduce more heat to the pipes. This can be accomplished by opening all sink-based cabinet doors along the exterior walls of the home. This will allow for heated air from the room to reach the pipes.
Fix Exterior Cracks
While we are more than a few days away from the official start of winter, it is a great idea to inspect the outside of your home for any holes or cracks along the outside walls and foundation. Filling any holes or cracks with spray foam insulation and caulk can help stop cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes.
Seal Off Crawl Spaces
Homes with ventilated crawl spaces should be sealed as much as possible during the winter. Coverings vents with heavy cardboard to block the cold air is a nice place to start, simply duct tape the cut to fit cardboard into the vents. In a basement, look for cracked basement windows that could allow cold air to come into the home and be sure to check for worn or missing insulation around garage and utility doors. Taking these steps to seal off any potential entryway for cold air can go a long way towards the winterization process.