Every year, wintertime presents homeowners with countless frustrations and risks. Not least of these is frozen pipes. It is paramount that you take pipe protection seriously, as this problem can quickly spiral into an expensive nightmare.
If you live in the south, your house may not have all the pipe protection features that come standard in many northern homes. But whether your pipes have extra safeguards or not, you should still be aware of what to do if they are ever at risk of freezing. Uncommonly low temperatures can overwhelm even the best-laid systems.
Pipe Protection Tips
Do not be caught unprepared – follow these tips to maximize pipe protection in cold weather.
Make Sure Your Pipes Are Properly Insulated
Good insulation should be a priority if there is any possibility your pipes could freeze in the winter. Insulating can save you from a lot of headaches and extra effort trying to keep plumbing warm without it.
One step to consider is insulating the unheated parts of your home (like your attic) to prevent overall heat loss. Thoroughly insulating the pipes themselves is most effective, however. That will mitigate temperature changes within the lines and immensely reduce their potential for freezing.
Regulate Indoor Temperatures
Some people lower the thermostat or even turn it off entirely when they are out of the house. This practice can be risky business, especially if temperatures dip significantly overnight. While lowering the thermostat a little is usually okay, a substantial drop can leave your pipes vulnerable. It is not a good idea to ever shut off your home’s thermostat, especially while traveling.
If you think you could use some extra pipe protection on particularly bitter nights, opening your cabinet doors can do the trick. This action allows the warm air in your house to reach more of your pipes and prevent ice formation.
If the above tips are not enough (or you do not have them all in place), one other strategy is to let your faucets drip. It may not be water conservation-friendly, but it could help save at-risk plumbing. This method works because moving water will freeze more gradually than when it is just sitting in the pipes. Consider doing this if any of the lines connected to your faucets are under-insulated.
Bottom Line: Be Prepared and Aware
As you may already know, water expands when it freezes. When this happens inside your home’s pipes, the pressure build-up can eventually result in the pipes bursting. In severe cases, much of your plumbing may need replacement, which can cost thousands of dollars.
Many people wrongly assume that their pipes will be okay no matter what. Hopefully, now that you know a little more about pipe protection, you can stay one step ahead. If you invest in modest preparations ahead of time and keep abreast of cold weather circumstances, you will succeed in your pipe protection efforts.