Homeowners should take preventive measures to avoid potential property damage associated with a broken water line. Cold pipes can freeze, causing them to burst or rupture unexpectedly in both the extreme cold of the northern regions as well as the milder climates in the south. Ruptured pipes are a common occurrence in the southern climates because the pipes are often left exposed on the exterior of the structure. Protecting cold pipes from freezing is easy when following these tips from professional plumbers.
Types of Insulation for Plumbing Pipes
Several insulating materials are suitable to protect exposed pipes during the cold winter months. Most are available at your local home improvement center or hardware store.
- Fiberglass pipe insulation
- Elastomeric rubber pipe insulation
- Polyethylene — foam — pipe insulation
Before the Cold Arrives
The best time to protect your pipes from freezing is before the snow and cold weather arrives. This allows you to identify easily any exposed pipes or holes in your homes exterior. A bonus is you will not have to trudge around through the snow and ice looking for problem areas or wrapping cold pipes.
- Locate and wrap any exposed pipes on your homes exterior with a suitable pipe insulation
- Insulate any pipes that reside in unheated areas of your home such as crawl spaces, attics and unfinished basements
- Block or cover crawl space venting to prevent cold air from entering
- Remove garden hoses from outside faucets
- Caulk or repair any holes in your homes exterior walls that could allow cold air to enter
During Sub-Freezing Weather
It is not too late to protect cold pipes after the freezing temperatures arrive. Unfortunately, you will also need to protect yourself before venturing into the frigid weather.
- Allow outside faucets to drip approximately 5 drops per minute when freezing temperatures are expected
- Allow inside faucets to drip when freezing temperatures are expected to persist for several days
- Open cabinet doors to expose plumbing to heated air
- Shut off water supplies to washing machines
While You Are Away
If you are planning to be away from your property during winter months for extended periods, take extra precautions to protect your pipes while you are away.
- Turn off the water supply at its main source, either the water meter or pump for homeowners using private wells
- Open and drain all outside faucets and leave them open while you are away
- When possible, leave your home's heating system on
- Open all cabinet doors that house plumbing lines to expose them to the warm air
Insulating your pipes not only protects them from freezing, but also helps them retain heat, which can save you money in energy costs. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.
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