Frozen pipes can cause all sorts of problems. Be sure to pay attention to when the temperature drops into the teens or lower. Frozen water lines often result in broken pipes and water leaks that damage walls, flooring, and personal property. Plumbing repairs and cleanup work can cost thousands of dollars. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent frozen pipes from causing you headaches this winter.
Preventive Measures Before Cold Weather Arrives
Take these steps to prepare your plumbing before severe winter weather arrives:
- Insulate exposed piping. Insulate pipes that are outside your home's heated space, such as in the attic, crawl space or in exterior walls that aren't protected from the cold.
- Protect outdoor piping. Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Turn the water supply to outdoor faucets off inside the house, if possible, and leave the outdoor faucet valves open to drain water and relieve pressure.
- Drain the sprinkler system. Drain sprinkler lines and weatherize the system according to advice from the installer.
Preventive Measures When Cold Weather Strikes
Extremely cold weather can cause problems even in well-weatherized plumbing. Doing the following will help prevent frozen pipes if unusually cold temperatures are expected:
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Leaving cabinet doors open lets warm air from inside the house into spaces where water supply lines are exposed to cold walls. Be sure hazardous materials in cabinets are kept away from children.
- Drip faucets. A trickle of water running from hot and cold water pipes will help prevent freezing and will relieve pressure in water lines in the event that they do freeze.
- Keep the heat turned up. On extremely cold nights, leave the thermostat set a few degrees higher than you normally do to help protect plumbing. If you'll be away from home for several days, leave the heat set to turn on if the weather turns cold. The extra money you spend on heat will be cheaper than repairing damage from broken pipes.
Call Gilman Heating & Cooling for help weatherizing your Richmond home for greater energy efficiency and to prevent frozen pipes.