Happy Winter Solstice everyone! Yesterday officially marked the shortest day of the year, and the start of winter! With Saint Nick due to arrive in just a few days, most of us are probably happily distracted with holiday cheer, family get togethers, and last minute gift shopping. Plumbing is probably the furthest thing from anyone’s mind right now. However, as winter starts to set it, and in many areas it has already made its presence known, it is important to take the proper precautions to prevent frozen pipes. They say we are in for an especially cold winter this year, which could means that many could be susceptible to winter plumbing problems, including frozen pipes. So, here is the 411 on frozen pipes and how to prevent them.
What Causes Frozen Pipes?
In order to prevent frozen pipes, it is important to understand what happens when pipes freeze. Water freezes at 32 degrees. In elementary school science class, we learned that when water freezes it expands. So, when water in plumbing pipes is exposed to freezing temperatures and freezes, it naturally starts to expand. This causes structural damage to the pipes, in other words a burst pipe. Which, if left undetected can cause an astounding amount of damage.
Who is Vulnerable to Freezing Pipes?
Most homes that are located in areas prone to freezing temperatures have taken the proper precautions to prevent frozen pipes. However, staying on top of plumbing maintenance is still important. Homes that are particularly susceptible to frozen pipes are located in areas that don’t see temperatures below 32 degrees that often. These homes often don’t have the proper insulation. So if by chance a cold front blows in, they could be in for it. Other risks include vacant homes, as nobody is there to maintain interior temperatures and if a problem does arise, it often goes undetected. Festering, until it is a holy mess!
Weak Points in Your Home
Identifying areas in your home that could be susceptible to freezing it crucial in preventing frozen pipes. Areas of the home that are particularly vulnerable are:
- Pipes located in attics and crawl spaces where a cold draft can reach them.
- Exterior pipes that are exposed to the elements.
How You Can Protect Your Plumbing
To prevent frozen pipes it is important to take the proper precautions. Make sure all exposed pipes are properly insulated. To prevent cold air from reaching interior pipes in attics and crawl spaces, make sure all entry points are properly sealed. As an added bonus, a properly sealed home is a more efficient home, as your furnace does not have to work as hard to maintain the temperature in your home.
If you are going out of town, keep the heater running while you are away. You don’t have to run it at a high temperature, just enough to keep warmer air circulating. Depending on how long you are going out of town you may also want to turn off the water supply. In addition, before freezing temperatures set in, please disconnect your gardening hose from the spicket! Water trapped inside a hose can cause a frozen backflow issue and be disastrous. You won’t need your hose during winter anyways, and freezing temperatures can cause your hose to crack.These steps are also a good idea for vacant properties.
Freezing temperatures can be grueling, but you don’t have to let them wreak havoc on your plumbing system! At Lesco Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling it is our goal to keep your comfortable all winter long. Make sure your plumbing is prepared today! Schedule a plumbing inspection. This is a great way to identify any points of weaknesses and make repairs before disaster strikes! Contact Lesco Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling today!