How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
We've been lucky so far this winter, but we all know this warmth won't last in Upstate NY. Take these steps to prevent frozen pipes before the temperature drops and the deep freeze is here to stay.
PROTECT PROBLEM PIPES
It's common sense that if you've had a pipe freeze in the past, it's likely that it will again. Also assess outside hose connections, indoor pipes close to an outside wall, pipes in a cold part of your house and pipes exposed to the cold from below – a crawl space under your house, for example. These are all more susceptible to the cold – PROTECT THEM!
INSULATE, INSULATE, INSULATE
It's not a glamorous home upgrade, but it sure can save you money and headaches. Insulate areas of your home where vulnerable pipes are located. Insulation alone won't ensure that your pipes won't freeze (especially if it's not adequately done), but it will help when combined with other protection from the elements.
Consider pipe wrappings embedded with electrical coils (heat tape) that provide an outside source of heat for areas where insulation alone won't solve the problem. Keep in mind that they won’t work if you forget to plug them in when the temperature drops, so it's best to use those with a built-in thermostat to take human error out of the equation. Another thing to keep in mind that these also won't work if the power goes out, and it tends to happen in severe weather, so this measure will do little to prevent frozen pipes in these scenarios.
OUTSIDE HOSES AND FAUCETS
Remove hoses from outside yard faucets. The faucets can’t drain properly with a hose attached and may freeze and break if the hose is left attached. You can also insulate outdoor hose connections with simple styrofoam covers that protect your faucet. They are sold in home improvement stores or here on amazon.
If you have a sprinkler system, drain all outdoor pipes and turn off the water supply to the system. A contractor can perform this work for you and blow out the sprinkler-system pipes with air if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself.
KEEP YOUR HOUSE WARM
Resist the urge to lower your thermostat to save money while you are gone for the day when severe cold hits. The few dollars or so you save could end up costing you thousands of dollars in property damage caused by frozen burst water pipes. Instead, turn your heat up a bit and open all the doors to interior rooms to allow the heat to circulate throughout your home.
DON'T FORGET YOUR CABINET CONNECTIONS
Remember to open the doors to kitchen and bathroom cabinets under your sinks so heat from the room can reach the pipes and help keep them from freezing. During severe cold weather, keep a stream of water trickling out of faucets or spouts attached to vulnerable pipes. Running water takes longer to freeze.
IN THE EVENT OF EMERGENCY
Know where your main water emergency shut-off valve is located. Knowing where this valve is located, and how to use it to shut off the water to your home, can save you untold property damage and grief if a pipe should freeze and burst in your home. If you are unsure of where this valve is or how to use it, contact us and we will tag it for you and teach you how it works.