If you’ve ever had a flooded basement due to a frozen pipe, you understand how critical it is to keep pipes from freezing. Even the best-insulated pipes can freeze in single digit and subzero temperatures. When temperatures fall below freezing, uninsulated pipes are at risk.
When the pipe freezes, it builds pressure that causes fractures or breaks, and when the water thaws, it explodes from the freshly created crack, flooding your home. Unattended, a burst pipe can flood your basement and cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage to your property.
The good news is that there are methods for protecting your pipes from freezing temperatures. You won’t have to worry about cracking, popping, bursting, or a flooded basement if you keep your pipes and the water in them above freezing.
What are the top five things you can do to keep your pipes from freezing?
- Run the Heat
If the house is empty and you’ve turned off the heat to save money, now is the time to turn it back on. One of the greatest methods to keep temperatures high enough to prevent frozen pipes is to leave the heat on when the house is empty.
Homes that are occupied full-time can keep the heat on as usual, though an extra degree or two when temperatures fall below zero won’t hurt. However, if you’re going on a winter vacation or if the house has no current residents, make sure the heat is kept at a minimum of 50 degrees during the colder months. This avoids freezing and ensures that you do not arrive home to a flooded basement.
- Drip the Faucet
Keeping the water in the pipes circulating decreases the risks of freezing. Allow a tiny trickle from any faucets connected to potentially troublesome pipes. This will not keep the pipe from freezing, but it will keep it from exploding since it lowers pressure.
- Open Cabinet Doors
If your house is like many others, you have pipes hidden beneath cabinets. When the temperature drops, open these cabinet doors to allow heat from your home to reach the pipes.
- Install Heating Tape
When temperatures drop, heating tape wraps around pipes and keeps them warm. You can choose between tape that automatically turns on and off and tape that connects into an electrical socket. This method works well for tiny pieces of pipe that are at high danger of freezing. A professional should install heating tape to ensure it is used safely and is not in contact with combustible materials.
- Increase Insulation
When it’s cold outside, insulation is your home’s best friend. If you have pipes in an area that isn’t very well insulated, it’s a good idea to add more insulation to keep them from freezing. To keep your vulnerable pipes warm, many forms of insulation can be fitted around them. An expert can advise you on the best type of insulation for your needs and ensure that it is correctly placed.
Finally, keep in mind that residences in cold climates are not the only ones at risk of freezing. In reality, homes in warmer climates often lack the insulation needed to withstand the occasional cold snap. Regardless of where you live, it’s a good idea to have your pipes examined so you know they’re adequately protected and you don’t have to worry about freezing, bursting, or flooded basements.
If you need further cold weather advice or need to speak with someone about a busted pipe or flooded basement, call Bedrock Restoration at 612-834-1501