How to avoid pipes bursting this winter
Burst pipes in your home are certainly an unwelcome occurrence in what is otherwise a generally festive and welcoming time of year. With the colder weather of the winter months, a burst pipe is far more common than anyone is happy to admit. While there are no guarantees, here are a few tried and true tips to help prevent your home pipes from freezing, and in turn, bursting in your home. And if you should find yourself in the position of a burst pipe, the right resource is hands down your saving grace.
- Avoid switching off your home heating system entirely: this tip is usually an easier one to remember when you are home. At home in the colder months, you are less likely to turn your home’s heating system below a manageable living temperature. This tip however is more crucial to families that travel and are away from their homes for any portion of the winter months. Many upgraded thermostats have a holiday setting and will keep a lower- level amount of heat on within a home to prevent interior temperatures dropping below 50 to 60 degrees.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors: Any cabinet that has plumbing and pipes within should be left open as much as possible. Leaving the cabinets open will allow warmer air from within the living areas of the home to circulate all around and specifically within the cabinets where the pipes are located. This is especially effective if your sinks are located on an exterior wall.
- Keep water faucets running at a very low level: By keeping one or two faucets running very slowly will keep water moving through the system and help prevent the line from freezing.
- Seal air leaks that allow the cold into your home: This becomes very apparent in the winter months. When the spaces under the sink suddenly feel like its own snow-storm is coming, you know you have outside air coming in. This can be especially dangerous in and around where plumbing pipes are located. And in more severe weather conditions, even the smallest leak can cause substantial problems, this is where caulk can become your very best friend this winter.
- Keep garage doors closed: Specifically, this is imperative if your home’s water supply lines are located within the garage. The outdoor temperature will freeze a semi-outdoor temperature such as a garage. Generally, a garage is not kept at the same living temperature as the interior, so eliminating exposure to the outside air as much as possible can be highly effective.
- Disconnect hoses from the outside faucet: When water in a hose freezes, and it is attached to an outside source, that will in turn, increase the amount of pressure within the pipes inside of the home and almost certainly cause a burst interior pipe.
- Make sure that pipes are properly and effectively insulated: As we know, exposed pipes are prone to freezing in the winter months. A simple task is to add wrapped foam insulation or heat tape products around your pipes prior to the cold weather. As always, these do-it-yourself products should always be up to higher industry standards when installed.
While the list can easily go on for another 4 or 5 tips, like monitoring or upgrading your thermostat (see tip 1), or ensuring you have a trusted neighbor to keep a watchful eye when you’re away, the ways to prevent a burst pipe are quite standard. As life progresses this winter and every winter before and after, there is generally a checklist of maintenance items to be reviewed at least once or twice prior to winter. The final item on that list should always be a backup should you find yourself with a burst pipe in the winter. That checklist should always include highly trained and effective professionals to help you no matter what the situation may be.