When water expands upon freezing, the result is an increased amount of pressure on whatever contains it, including metal or plastic pipes. Despite the strength of the pipes, the expanding water can cause them to break. Preventing frozen pipes in winter is the best way to keep your pipes in top condition no matter the temperature outside.
Pipes that are most prone to freezing are those exposed to severe cold conditions such as swimming pool supply lines, outdoor hose bibs, water sprinkler lines and others located in unheated interiors like crawl spaces, basements, garages, attics or kitchen cabinets. In addition, pipes that run against exterior walls which have little or no insulation are also more likely to freeze in winter.
Preventing Frozen Pipes in Winter
The threshold for how cold does it have to be for pipes to freeze is set at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This threshold is applicable for locations where freezing weather is an exception rather than the rule and where buildings do not provide adequate built-in protection.
Taking a few precautionary steps at the right time can assist homeowners in preventing frozen pipes in winter. Some of these recommendations can be used in conjunction with one another for added protection.
Insulate Pipes to Keep Them Dry
Insulating both hot and cold water pipes on the premises, especially in the unheated areas of the property, is the first recommendation to prevent pipes from freezing in winter. Insulation in these areas can be done by using foam insulation. Ensure that foam insulation fits tightly around the pipes without any gaps.
To strengthen the insulation, use duct tape on joints and attach around elbows to completely envelop the joints.
Use Heater Tapes or Heated Reflector Lamps
To stop pipes from freezing in winter, use either heater tapes or heated reflector lamps to prevent cold temperatures from setting in. Both devices serve the purpose of keeping the surrounding area just warm enough to prevent water from freezing.
Problem pipes can be wrapped up with UL-approved heat tapes that come with an internal thermostat to avoid overheating. A heat lamp focused on the drain p-trap can keep it from freezing if it is also protected with a boxed enclosure.
Let Water Drip in Faucets
To keep pipes from freezing without heat, let both hot and cold water faucets drip in the bathroom and kitchen. This preventive measure can ensure that water keeps running through the pipe and does not freeze over.
For single-lever faucets, set the drip in the middle so that both hot and cold lines have water running through them. It does not have to be a lot of water; a trickle is enough to keep water in motion. The same can also be applied in situations to keep pipes from freezing with no power during an electricity outage.
To keep pipes from freezing in crawlspace, make certain that the foundation is fully enclosed. Seal any existing gaps in the foundation walls using expanding foam or caulking. Also make sure to cover over or close foundation vents located under the house in extreme cold conditions.
To make sure that pipes don’t freeze from faucets located on the exterior of the house, use insulated foam covers to enclose faucets. As an alternative, shut off water to exterior faucets and allow faucets to completely drain from the connecting pipelines.
It is also recommended to drain water from exterior locations such as the swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines. This method is a better alternative than using antifreeze since it can be environmentally hazardous to both the landscaping and wildlife.
More Preventive Actions
Apart from targeting specific water lines that are more prone to freezing, it is also recommended to take some otherwise preventive measures to stop pipes from freezing around the property. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to permit warm air to circulate around the plumbing. Keep the garage door closed during extremely cold conditions.
Call a Professional: TWR Atlanta
Should you find that you have the dilemma of frozen pipes on your property, do not hesitate to call on the expertise of water damage restoration specialists like Tidal Wave Response. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, we have a team of experts that can deal with all your water damage issues and fix the problem to prevent future damage. Call us at 770-693-4568 any time, day or night. Our technicians are available 24/7 to help you no matter the hour!