As you prepare for the frozen winter months at your home this fall, don’t forget to winterize your plumbing! Frozen pipes are a real problem here during winter, and the last thing you want is to have one burst.
However, despite what most people believe, pipes do not actually burst where the water freezes. Instead, the burst occurs somewhere between the freezing point and a closed faucet, such as a washing machine, kitchen or bathroom faucet. Pressure slowly builds up due to ice blockage, which means the water has nowhere else to go but through the walls of the pipe. This can create a significant amount of water damage in your home, which in turn could necessitate foundational and structural repairs. It is especially important for people who own seasonal homes to take these steps.
Here are a few tips from a plumber to help you properly winterize your property:
- Insulate your pipes: Pipes are very susceptible to damage from freezing any time temperatures drop below 20 degrees. Pipe insulation helps you to provide some defense against those extremely cold temperatures and ensuing freezes. Add thicker layers of insulation to ensure you get protection throughout the entire cold winter. Additionally, make sure you insulate pipes in any areas that are unheated, as these are the most likely to freeze. You can purchase this insulation at any hardware store.
- Keep faucets slightly open: If you expect the temperature to drop below freezing, turn the faucets on along the exterior walls just slightly, so there is a small, steady drip. This gets rid of pressure that would otherwise build up between the faucet and a forming ice blockage. Even if the pipe freezes, it will not burst.
- Open your cabinets: Opening your cabinets helps to introduce more heat to areas where you have pipes in your home. Sink-based cabinet doors along exterior walls are especially good to keep open if you want to allow more heat to reach the pipes.
- Fix any outdoor cracks on your home: Walk around the outside of your home and check to see if there are any cracks or holes in the walls or foundation. Filling these holes with spray foam insulation and caulking can be an excellent way to keep cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes when the weather becomes extremely cold.
- Seal off your home’s crawl space: If you have a home that is ventilated with the assistance of crawl spaces, make sure those spaces are sealed off against the cold weather. Cover the vents in your home with heavy-duty cardboard sections that fit your vents, and duct tape it to keep it in position. Additionally, make sure you seal off the access area to the crawl space as well. If you have a basement, make sure you fix broken basement windows or worn insulation.
For more information about winterizing your property, contact a plumber from Affordable Rooter to remove any water around your home and take these winterization steps.
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