You’ve probably gotten through the other three seasons without plumbing troubles, and you’re thinking the cold season will be incident-free. Big mistake. Winter is the coldest season and it has an impact on your water supply lines.
As temperatures start to drop, water in your pipes will start to freeze and expand. This change puts pressure on your supply lines. If the pipes are weak or old, they could rupture and inundate your home with water. Pay attention to pipes in exposed areas like the attic, basement, or crawl space.
Protecting Your Water Pipes
You can avoid water damage and other moisture-issues by keeping your water pipes warm and safe this winter. Here are a couple of preventive measures you can take to protect the supply lines.
Leave the Faucet to Drip
The first thing you’d want to do is open the faucet a bit so water can drip slowly. Leaving the faucet open helps relieve pressure in the pipes. Even if water freezes, pressure won’t build up and rupture the pipes. If your faucet is served by hot and cold water pipes, open the taps slightly. Better still, set the single-handle faucet to warm.
Leave the Heater On
A few units of electricity won’t compare to the cost of repairing your water damaged basement or crawl space after a pipe burst. If you intend to go on a trip, make sure you leave the heater on. The heat doesn’t have to be high, but try to keep it above 50° F. This heat is enough to warm your pipes and prevent water on the inside from freezing.
Seal Wall Cracks
Inspect pipes that run through the floor or walls for gaps and holes and seal them. Left unchecked, these can let in cold air that will freeze the pipes. Cold air that gets into the cabinet compartment via holes can also make this space colder than your home. Spray foam insulation and caulk work great. If you can, seal holes on both sides of the wall.
Keep Cabinet Doors Open
When temperatures start falling, you’d also need to keep the cabinet doors wide open so heat from the rest of your home can circulate around the pipes and stop them from freezing. Make sure interior doors stay open.
Add More Insulation
Water pipes that run through the attic and the basement or crawl space will need more insulation to protect them from the cold. Do the same for poorly insulated pipes that run elsewhere around your home. You can fit them with fiberglass sleeves or foam rubber. While this works well for exposed pipes, it can be costly if walls or floors have to be opened to insulate the pipes. Don’t forget to add wall and ceiling insulation as well. What this does is keep the pipe and water temperatures warm even if temperatures dip to the freezing point. Properly insulating your basement or crawl space also is essential.
Use Heat Tape
Cover the water pipes with an electric blanket. This device supplies pipes with direct heat, keeping them warm during cold spells. This blanket is suitable for short pipe sections that are likely to freeze or are difficult to access. We recommend the automatic type, as it detects when the pipes need warmth and turns itself on. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s direction for your own safety.
- Keep the garage closed if water lines go through it.
- Seal the crawl space and insulate it to protect water pipes that pass through it.
- Blow out your sprinkler to remove any standing water.
- Disconnect garden hoses and move them inside.
- Drain your water pipes then shut off the main valve if going on vacation.
If you need help in combating frozen pipes or waterproofing your basement or crawl space, get in touch with the experts at Ohio Basement Systems. We’ll provide you with a free waterproofing inspection and quote, as well as recommend the best solutions to protect your home.