With the late winter weeks bringing frigid temperatures in many regions, homeowners who don't typically have to worry about frozen pipes may find themselves suddenly panicked about several days of sub-freezing temperatures. The good news is that there are some things that you can do, especially in areas that aren't typically prepared for this type of cold, to protect your home's plumbing system from freezing. Here's a look at what your plumbing contractor wants you to know to help protect your pipes.
Expose As Much Plumbing As Possible To Heat
The first thing that you should think about is ensuring that all of the pipes in your home are exposed to heat. The easiest way to do this is by ensuring better air circulation. You can do this by opening up all of the cabinet and closet doors where your pipes run. This includes cabinets under your sinks and the closet door where your water heater is installed.
Additionally, for those with a crawl space under their home, you should also take steps to ensure that the pipes running in those crawl spaces are exposed to heat. Invest in heat tape that you can wrap around the pipes. Make sure that you follow all of the safety precautions and cover as much of the plumbing under your home as possible.
Add Some Insulation Around The Pipes
Sometimes there are pipes that run along the outside walls of your home. Those pipes don't actually run outside, just on the inside of the exterior-boundary walls. Unfortunately, those exterior walls are often colder than your interior ones because of the thermal transfer of the cold through those walls. Whenever possible, add some extra protection to any exposed pipes in those areas. You can use pool noodles or plumbing insulation foam. Split the foam or the pool noodle and place it over the pipe, covering the entire plumbing line.
Keep Your Water Flowing
Another important aspect of preventing your home's plumbing from freezing is keeping the water moving. That means you'll want to turn on all of the cold-water faucets in your home to a slow stream. Let each one trickle all night and until the temperatures are back above freezing again.
The idea behind this is that, as long as water is moving through the pipes, it is far less likely to freeze than stagnant water sitting there. Keeping your faucets flowing, even with a minimal stream, can help you to keep freezing at bay.
If you aren't confident in your own abilities to prepare your pipes, contact a plumbing contractor for help. They can assess your pipes and help you address the vulnerable areas. If your pipes do happen to freeze, your plumber will help you to repair the problem.