Welcome back to another entry here at the Economy Plumbing Services blog! Winter is well and truly here! We may have thought that last month but these past few weeks is when the temperatures really started to dip, and just in time! The winter holidays are just around the corner. If you’re planning on going on any trips this winter, perhaps to a family cabin, you might want to take some steps to keep your pipes from freezing!
How to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing with a Few Easy Tips
The number one thing you can to do keep your pipes from freezing this winter is to insulate those bad boys!
Despite what you might think at first, pipe insulation is relatively inexpensive – especially if you compare it to the repairs costs of a burst pipe! Keep a particularly close eye on spaces where pipes are in unheated and interior spaces of your home. Places like the attic, garage, basement are all places where the pipes are exposed to ambient temperature.
Most pipe insulation is made up of fiberglass, foam, polyethylene. If you’re expecting a cold front to blow in and you don’t have anything on hand, you can even use newspaper and duct tape if you’re in a fix. But, regardless, insulating your pipes is a huge first step to keep your pipes from freezing!
Keep Garage Doors Closed
For many homeowners, their plumbing runs through the garage in a number of ways and the water heater might be there as well. This is unfortunate because the garage is kind of perfectly built to let things get cooold. Garages have lots of smooth concrete that keeps the place cold. If you keep the door open and let the cold air in well you’re just turbocharging those freezing conditions.
Open Doors & Cabinets
While we’re on the subject of keeping doors closed, there’s also power in keeping things open inside. Here’s why! Keeping interior doors open, helps your home regulate and keep a consistent temperature. Now as for cabinets…
Pipes are often exposed in your bathroom and kitchens, well ok not exposed, but they’re outside of the walls in these locations, usually tucked into a cabinet. These cabinets, if left closed can trap cold air in them, and keep your pipes cold.
By going about your home and opening doors and cabinets you keep the warm air circulating around and warming the plumbing.
Leave Faucet Running
This might surprise you, but if you leave a faucet dripping, ever so slightly, just a drip you’ll help prevent your pipes from freezing over. Here’s why.
Running water, even just a tiny amount, has more energy than standing water, this energy, this friction created by the movement of water produces the tiniest amount of heat, making the water harder to freeze over. So by allowing a faucet to drip, especially one that is fed through exterior or exposed pipes, you’re opening up a pipe for water to flow through.
The other benefit? Opening a faucet releases pressure from building up in the cold pipes. This will keep the pipe from bursting as the combination of pressure and solidifying water overwhelms the space.
Just like the thought process behind opening doors & cabinets, keeping your thermostat at a consistent temperature will help keep your pipes from freezing over and potentially bursting. If you’re using your heater during the day, don’t turn it off at night in an attempt to save energy as you could risk the temperature dropping drastically and the water in your pipes responding.
Seal Cracks and Openings
Really, this should go up there next to insulating pipes as one of the best things you can do to keep your pipes from freezing over and bursting! Look around your home for any holes, gaps, cracks, or openings that can allow cold air to find its way into your home and walls. Look for cracks around windows and doors, look at the holes that utility wires for cables run through. Look at the places where your plumbing comes out of exterior walls. If there any cracks at all, caulk them up to keep warm air in, and cold air out. This helps your home’s insulation in a big way!
These are just some of the ways you can prevent your home’s pipes from freezing over. For us here in Tucson we are pretty fortunate that the temperatures don’t dip that deep too often so usually following these precautions are more than enough to ensure our plumbing stays in tip-top shape. If you’re worried about the state of your pipes heading into the winter, give Economy Plumbing a call! We’ll do a plumbing inspection that will sort you right out!