Avoid frozen water pipes this winter. Protect your water pipes. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, they have predicted that this winter is expected to be one of our coldest on record. While that may not seem like big news to many New Yorkers, these recent frigid temperatures can wreak havoc on a variety of things around the home – especially your plumbing and the risk of freezing water pipes.
How to Protect Your Pipes from Freezing
Plumbing 101 will tell you that as water freezes it expands. Therefore it is extremely important to protect your pipes during extreme temperatures in order to prevent them from breaking or bursting. Water pipes found in unheated areas of your home are susceptible to freezing which can lead to flood damage and expensive plumbing bills. Fortunately, the good news is there are simple, preventative measure (recommended by certified plumbers) you can take to avoid the costly expenses associated with frozen water pipes.
Plumbing Precautions You Should Take
A few precautions you can make to preemptively protect your plumbing particularly when you know you will not be near your house to notice broken pipes, include:
- Insulate your pipes with foam pipe insulation (which can be found at any home improvement or hardware store). Measure the diameter of your pipes in order to know what size to buy. For those pipes that are exposed to the extreme cold in unheated areas, wrap heat tape (which plugs into approved electrical outlets) instead of foam around them.
- Disconnect your outdoor hoses because they will restrict water from draining from your pipes making your water pipe more prone to freezing and cracking.
- If you are unable to appropriately protect your pipes, allow a slow trickle from your faucets to keep water flowing through the plumbing and relieve pressure.
- Open cabinet doors under all the sinks in your house allowing heat to reach your water pipes.
- Seal any cracks, holes, or other openings on exterior walls with caulk or foam sealant. Also, seal or cover any doors or exterior entries to unheated spaces to lock heat in.
Pipes Already Frozen? Here's How to Prevent Bursts
Because New York has already seen dramatic temperature drops, you may be concerned that your pipes are currently frozen. However, there are steps you can take to avoid disaster if frozen water pipes are found which include calling in a local, certified plumber to inspect your water pipes. In the meantime, a few tips to try are:
- Turn off the water supply to your home by closing the whole house water shut-off valve. Once the water is off, call in a certified, local New York plumber immediately.
- Use a portable space heater, heat lamp, or blow dryer on a low setting to thaw out frozen pipes. However, be careful because thawing water pipes too quickly can cause them to break.
- Make sure your faucets are open to allow water to start going through them.
Any skilled plumbing professional will tell you that that prevention is the key to ensuring your home is protected from freezing water pipes during these harsh winter months. Whether you’re in Albany, New York or South Dakota homeowners must take the proper precaution to avoid a costly repair and major inconvenience. When in doubt, never hesitate to call your local plumber to go over any questions you may have.