We don’t exactly live in the artic. In fact, if you compared us to our friends in the Midwest or Northeast, they’d probably laugh at our ideas of “cold.” But while we can sometimes exaggerate the word “freezing,” the fact of the matter is, we do get freezing temperatures here in the Pacific Northwest. Anything below 32°F is, in fact, considered freezing and can subsequently lead to frozen pipes.
So to answer the question this post poses, yes, your pipes are at risk of freezing! Read on to learn more.
The Problem with Frozen Pipes
You might also be wondering why frozen pipes are such a problem. The issue isn’t so much that they can freeze but rather what happens when they start to thaw. The process of thawing creates negative pressure within your pipes, and this causes the pipes to expand and contract. As you can imagine, the material of your pipes isn’t exactly designed for this, and therefore can crack and burst as a result. Once this occurs, you’re in for a big cleanup and potentially even a financial hit as you may have property damage too.
While we’ve already had some pretty cold weather in the past couple of months, we might still have more to come. Therefore, it’s a good idea to review how to prevent frozen pipes now and in the future!
Keep Faucets Open
We’re talking about your outdoor faucets. Use their shut-off valves to turn off the water feeding those outlets, then open the faucets to drain out any water that’s sitting in them. This includes your sprinklers, hoses, and any other outdoor water hookups you have. Leave the faucets open, and consider getting some insulated caps for your home and faucet openings.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to disconnect any hoses you have as well after you drain them
Insulate Your Pipes
This is one you can do regardless of whether or not you expect temperatures to drop any further this winter. It will help you in all winters from here on out! Be proactive and think about those pipes in your home that can be sensitive to freezing temperatures but that you still have to use. This can include pipes under the sink, in crawlspaces, and in your basement.
In order to prevent these pipes from freezing, the best thing you can do is purchase pipe insulating sleeves from your closest hardware store. This helps keep the temperature inside the pipes steady and will help reduce the chance of freezing. You can also get this same effect with towels.
Keep Sink Cabinets Open
On exceptionally chilly days and nights, the pipes in the walls that face outdoors are prone to freezing. This means the pipes attached to drains and faucets in the bathroom and kitchen area of your home. If you leave the cabinet doors cracked a bit though, you allow the heat from your home to reach them, reducing the chances that you’ll have a frozen pipe problem.