Winter season creates innumerable challenges for property managers and owners who have to protect their property against weather damage of all kinds.
One common example of property damage during the cold months is ruptured pipes coupled with the resulting water damage. Frozen and bursting pipes is an expensive cause of frustration for people who have to pay thousands of dollars for repair.
Costly repairs can be avoided by merely undertaking a few steps to ensure that your pipes do not freeze even in the harshest of winters. If you want to find out what they are, just keep reading.
Keep The Heating Constant
If you are leaving for a long time, then do not switch off the heating. Freezing and bursting pipes can cause a lot more damage to your property and possessions as compared to what you will have to pay for heating in your utility bills.
You do not have to keep the heat on high; just maintain the temperature to keep the pipes warms, so the water inside them does not freeze. 50°F is fine.
Open The Interior Doors
Pipes are often kept inside cabinets, so when the temperatures drop, it is good to keep the cabinet doors open so the heat from inside the house can warm up the plumbing pipes and prevent them from freezing.
In fact, keep all doors inside the house open so the heat can warm up all corners of the house.
Also, if you have your plumbing pipes in the attached garage, then consider doing the same. Keep the connecting door between the garage and the house open to allow the heat to pass through and heat the garage. This will also be good for your vehicle. Just be sure that no heat escapes outside from the garage.
Add Extra Insulation
Pipes present in the basement or attic do not have proper insulation, which may lead to freezing. So add extra insulation to avoid ice blockages and bursting pipes, as insulation keeps a pipe at a temperature closer to that of water inside it.
However, it does not have any heating properties, so it cannot prevent freezing if the pipe is exposed to prolonged freezing temperatures.
Fiberglass or foam rubber sleeves can be fitted on the pipes to decrease the chances of freezing. Insulation sleeves are an easy solution for exposed pipes, but they can be costly if the pipes you want to insulate are located inside the walls, floor, or ceiling.
Additional insulation can be added to the ceiling and walls to keep the pipes warm during winters.
Apply Heating Tape
Heating tape is like an electric blanket for pipes. It supplies heat directly to the pipes to keep them warm. A heating tape can be a good solution if there are short sections of pipe (easily accessible) that are at high risk for freezing. You can install the heating tape and monitor for issues as it can be as dangerous as a space heater.
Two types of heating tapes are available in the market – automatic and manual. The automatic one turns on and off by itself after sensing the temperature to determine if the pipes need heat. The manual heating tape needs to be plugged in and out depending on when you think the pipes need heating as there is no on/off switch on it.
Let The Faucet Drip
If you think your pipe will freeze, just slightly open the faucet fed attached to that pipe so it can drip. If the faucet is linked to both hot and cold water pipes, then slightly open both faucet taps, or set a single-handle faucet to warm.
Leaving the faucet to be open so it can drip relieves the pressure in the plumbing system. So if a pipe freezes, it does not burst due to the pressure created between the blockage and the faucet.
Seal Cracks And Holes
Seal gaps and cracks around holes where the pipes run through the floor or walls to avoid freezing cold air from entering.
You can use spray foam or caulk insulation to seal the gaps, if possible, on both the interior and exterior side of the floor or wall, as the cold outdoor air that gets inside can make a cabinet compartment much colder than it already is.
Bill’s Plumbing & Sewer Inc. is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured plumbing company that provides expert services to residential and commercial projects in Northbrook, IL. Click here to get your free estimate.