Though it may be unseasonably warm out for this time of year, don’t let that lovely mid-afternoon heat lull you into a false sense of security.
It’s been a long time since high school so we won’t blame you if you don’t remember that when the temperature in and around your pipes drops below zero – even for a relatively short period – water in those pipes is going to freeze. When expands when it freezes and even a little bit of movement can be enough to cause a pipe to fracture or burst.
So, although the sun may be shining, we all know that the weather can take a turn for the worse at a moments notice, and you – and your wallet – do not want to be caught unprepared. If you haven’t already, now is the time to prep your plumbing to get you through another long, cold winter without disaster.
- Fill holes and cracks along the outside walls and foundation of your home with foam insulation or caulking to help keep cold air from entering the home.
- In any and all unheated areas, insulate pipes that are likely to freeze by wrapping them in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fibreglass, heat tape, or wrap with heat-conducting wire.
- Even interior pipes are subject to freezing, especially those that have cold air blowing on them. Make sure your pipes are well insulated by closing any crawl space vents and stuffing insulation over the openings.
- Bathroom or laundry rooms located above or next to a garage are vulnerable as the insulation may not be as thick – keep the garage door closed to maintain heat.
- Where bathroom pipes run along an outside exterior wall, open the cabinet or vanity doors to allow heat inside. Using a fan to circulate air near the pipes or plugging in a small space heater for extra heat may also help.
- On those nights when the temperature is expected to dip below zero, turn on faucets along the exterior walls and let them drop. This can eliminate any pressure that can build up between the faucet and an ice blockage, so even if the pipe does free it is less likely to burst.
- If you’re heading out of town for the winter, never turn off the heat. You may be concerned about your electricity bill, but maintaining the interior temperature at at least 55 degrees will keep pipes from getting cold enough to freeze – the damage of which would cost a lot more to repair.