If you’ve lived in our area for even just a year, then you know it’s never really that warm. Wintertime is downright chilly! You also probably know that while we don’t get the blizzard type weather that those on the east coast get, snow and freezing temperatures are still a thing!
This means you have to take steps to make sure your home is protected against inclement weather, ice, and snowmelt. Have you checked to see that your drafty doors and windows are sealed up? Is a humidifier investment a good idea for you to protect your property and your family’s health? Are your plumbing pipes protected from freezing?
Too few homeowners think about that last point! Read on to learn why this is a problem and what you can do about it.
Why Are Frozen Pipes a Problem?
Perhaps you think you already know the answer to this question—“Well, if my pipes are frozen, I can’t use them, right?”
Yes, that is definitely part of the problem, but it’s actually not the worst part of frozen plumbing. The danger of frozen pipes actually comes from the thawing process.
What happens is, as your frozen pipes thaw, it creates a negative pressure that can lead to pipe ruptures, a.k.a burst pipes. For this reason, we don’t recommend trying to thaw pipes on your own. You could very likely just end up with damaged pipes, significant water damage, and worst of all, injury to yourself.
Preventing This Problem
The good news is, as this blog title implies, frozen pipes are completely preventable. So you can avoid this problem all together, by:
- Draining your outdoor faucets and leaving them open.
The pipes that lead outdoors are, naturally, the ones most prone to freezing. If you have any outdoor faucets that you use for your sprinkler system or hoses, be sure to turn off the water flow to these points, and leave them open.
- Disconnecting hoses.
Just like your outdoor pipes, your hoses are susceptible to freezing if any water is left inside them. You don’t want this water and ice backing up into the faucets and pipes the hoses are attached to. So the best thing you can do is drain these hoses and story them indoors, if possible. At the very least, you should store them in a garage or shed.
- Insulating your pipes.
Fortunately, this doesn’t take much time or much money. All you need to do is purchase some insulating sleeves (or you can even use towels) to place around the pipes of your home that are prone to freezing. This can include any pipes in your basement if you have one, as well as the plumbing beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. Don’t forget either any pipes that lead outdoors like your washing machine.
- Keeping your cabinets open when the heater is running.
We’re talking about the cabinets beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks, here. By keeping them open while the furnace or heat pump is running, you allow heat into the cabinets so the pipes under there are less likely to freeze.