Archive for Plumbing

Interior Water Pipes: Preventing and Dealing with Freezing

indexWith the bitter cold temperatures this time of year, frozen water pipes are a huge problem.   Freezing pipes can create even more problems if the pipes burst from the pressure.

Water expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on pipes, causing them to break. Even with insulation, your pipes can be at risk of freezing. Some ways to prevent freezing pipes inside your home include:

  1. Keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher – even if you are leaving your house for an extended period of time.
  2. Open cabinet doors below sinks – this will allow heat from inside your home to circulate and keep pipes warmer.
  3. Allow water to drip from faucets – both hot and cold. If water is moving, there is less chance it will freeze. It is also important to note that hot water may freeze before cold water. So, leaving both drip will help keep water from freezing.
  4. In colder areas of your home, like a basement, put a heat tape around pipes.
  5. Identify cold air drafts coming from a flue or chimney chase that may be near pipes and caulk the gaps, or use spray foam insulation.

If you have had issues with freezing pipes in the past, you may want to add a recirculating pump. Although it’s purpose is to provide instant hot water at your faucet or shower, helps to keep pipes from freezing but helps by keeping the water circulating constantly through both the hot and cold water lines.

If your pipes freeze:

  1. Try thawing the pipes under the sink with a hair dryer. Make sure the faucets are still on so melting water can drip out.
  2. Heat a pot of hot water on the stove and soak towels in it. Wrap the heated towels around cold areas of the pipes.

It is important to eliminate any drafts in your home that will allow cold air to enter. Ensuring your house is sealed properly with new windows, caulking, insulation, etc., should help when cold temperatures hit. Contact your contractor for a home inspection to ensure your home is energy efficient.