Your plumbing pipes are vital for your home, but they are even more important during the winter season. You need to keep those pipes working so you can get water to move in and out of your home. You especially need them when you’re trying to get warm water for any intention during the coldest time of the year.
The greatest problem with the winter season is that your pipes can freeze up in a few moments and even break apart after a while. The pipes may start to freeze due to the cold conditions or from the water moving through the pipes possibly being colder than usual. Frozen pipes will keep your plumbing system from working accordingly. Sometimes those pipes might crack or become dislodged or burst from excess pressure.
The greatest concern is that your plumbing system may keep water from getting out of your home. You might develop a reduced amount of water pressure or flow. In other cases, you might not get warm water at all. For the cases where you do get warn water, you would have to spend more time and water just trying to get everything heated up.
You can prevent frozen pipes from developing in your home by using a few points. These steps are easier to follow than you might think. More importantly, these points will help you keep your home from wearing out prematurely.
When Is the Threat Likely To Develop?
Naturally, it is easier for you to develop frozen pipes when the weather conditions are at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. But there is also a chance that your pipes might be frozen when it gets to be under 50. This is due to the conditions chilling the water that may move through the pipes a little too much.
The water in your home may become chilled faster than anything else in your home, thus increasing the risk of a burst. Planning your efforts based on the conditions in your area is critical for helping you to keep your pipes from freezing up and being impossible to use.
Keep Your Water Supply Lines Secure
The first thing to do is to watch for how your water supply lines are exposed. You need to keep your supply lines from being easily exposed to cold air. You can add insulating materials around them if you have direct access to those lines. Any outside barriers you wrap around those lines will keep them from receive direct exposure to cold conditions, thus reducing the risk of freezing.
In addition to large blankets, you can add insulating sleeves over your pipes. You can include things like fiberglass or foam materials that fit over the pipes. Insulating sleeves offer a better fit and are not as bulky as traditional blanket materials. But you must make sure the sleeves you order fit around your pipes properly and are easy to handle.
In many cases, your water supply lines may be in your garage. Keep the door to your garage closed so the intense cold will not be as likely to reach the lines. Don’t forget to add blankets or other insulators over the lines.
Allow Water to Drip
The next point is to let a bit of water drip from a faucet that is linked to an exposed pipe. Allowing a small bit of water to drip out regularly allows the pipe to keep working and to stay active, thus reducing the risk of the pipe settling and freezing. You don’t even have to produce hot water at this point to keep it active.
The best part of this is that the consistent flow of water will keep the pressure inside a pipe from being intense. Many frozen pipes will develop intense pressure amounts that can break apart over time. By keeping water flowing by even the slightest amount, you are reducing that pressure, thus keeping the condition from being too hard to manage.
Watch for how you turn the faucets on in your home. A gentle drip that comes out every few seconds should be good enough. You don’t have to add lots of water at once; that would not make much of an improvement. Besides, you need avoid using more water than necessary as you get your pipes secure.
You can do this with any faucets or taps in your home. But the best ones to target are the ones that are in spots that are more susceptible to freezing. Keeping those faucets on is critical for ensuring the water that moves through your property will stay secure.
Avoid Adjusting the Thermostat
People often try to change the temperatures in their homes throughout the day based on the outside conditions. You should avoid adjusting the thermostat though. Doing so would cause the water system in your home to experience more pressure. This would cause undue stress around other utilities in your home, including your plumbing system. Therefore, you should keep the temperature on your thermostat at the same number throughout the day.
On a related note, keep the conditions inside your home about 55 degrees Fahrenheit if possible. Anything colder than this might cause the pipes inside your home to freeze up.
But what if you have a smart thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature based on certain times or conditions? In this case, you would have to temporarily disable those smart features. Keep the temperature steady for a certain time based on how long you feel the threat of freezing pipes will come about.
Keep Your Home Insulated
While it is important to add insulation to your water lines, it is also vital for you to add insulation to all the other spots around your home. Keep your basement, attic, and other sensitive spots fully insulated. Check on these areas to see how well the insulating materials in them are laid out. You might need to replace your insulation materials with new ones if you have not gotten them fixed up in the last few years.
Secure All Leaks
Leaks, cracks, and other problems around your plumbing system can do more than just cause you to lose water and water pressure. These also allow cold air to move directly into your plumbing system, thus increasing the chances that the pipes will freeze up.
But you can keep this from being a threat by getting all leaks, cracks, and other items secured and sealed off. A caulking material may be utilized to help you seal off all those bothersome issues.
Look For Heating Tape
You can always add heating tape to your exposed pipes and supply lines if desired. Heating tape is a special material you can add to prevent freezing while adding a gentle amount of heat.
Some heating tape materials are designed to start working when cold conditions are noticed. The material will add a gentle amount of heat onto the surface when the temperature gets down.
Meanwhile, some heating tapes are ones that you have to plug into a wall outlet. You would plug in the tape when needed and then unplug it when the pipes are warm enough. The design produces a consistent amount of heat onto the pipes, but you must be cautious. You do not want this model to heat up far too much.
Open Cabinet Doors
One idea to consider involves opening the cabinet doors that your pipes are located in. These doors are almost always the ones situated under the sink.
Keeping the cabinet doors open allows the warm air produced by your HVAC system to reach the pipes. The added air allows the pipes to feel a little warmer, thus keeping them from freezing up.
Make sure you remove any chemicals or other harmful items from those cabinets before you keep them open. Wash their surfaces out if there are any stains too. These points are especially important if you have children or pets in your home.
Also, you need to ensure that the air moves around the cabinets well enough. The air should get into the cabinet and impact the pipes as directly as possible. The effort should keep the surface comfortable.
The threat of cold weather on your plumbing system is more significant than what you might think it is like. The risk of damages to your pipes can be significant due to the effects of ice and cold conditions. But that does not mean you have to worry about the problems that might come along without problems.
You have to make sure you get your plumbing pipes ready for the winter season. Be aware of what you are doing with your pipes and that you have a sensible plan on hand for keeping them from freezing up. The last thing you would want to bear with during the winter season is your pipes freezing up and being unable to handle water the right way. Getting everything handled right and under control is vital to your success in keeping your home comfortable.