Baby, it's (record-breaking) cold outside! This has been one tough winter across the country, with not just sub-freezing but sub-zero freezing temperatures. It might be a great excuse to whip up your famous hot chocolate and snuggle up close to the fireplace, but don't forget to extend that TLC to your home's pipes. Frozen or burst pipes can put a serious damper on your winter wonderland, and that's the last thing you need. Follow these plumber-approved tips for keeping your pipes from freezing, and you'll be sitting pretty until the spring thaw.
1. Up the Thermostat
One of your New Year's resolutions might be to save some cash, but don't do it at the expense of your comfort or your pipes. Especially in older houses (with insulation that leaves something to be desired), keeping your home reasonably temperate is the easiest way to keep your pipes healthy at the same time.
2. Turn Off the Main Water Valve While You're Away
If you're escaping to warmer weather, turn your water valve completely off. This will prevent water from trickling and potentially freezing while you're away. Plus, this can also help you save a little extra cash on the water bill, too.
3. Leave a Drip
It's old advice, and it works. Leaving a tiny drip on all faucets can keep water moving just enough to prevent a freeze. If you try this tactic, don't forget about all the faucets in your home, including those in the garden or basement. There's a reason this trick has been around for so long, but you have to cover all basis for it to work. Catch the dripping water and recycle it to water the plants!
4. Keep Cabinets Open
Allowing your home to heat the pipes in cabinets won't put much of a dent in your energy bill, but it will let those pipes have access to warmer temperatures. This small move might make the difference between a burst pipe and one that survives this "Indian winter."
5. Use a Space Heater
Space heaters aren't just for people. Unprotected pipes can benefit from having a space heater nearby-but this should just be a temporary fix until you can get proper, professional protection or insulation in place. It's a Band-Aid approach, but it's better than nothing (for now).
The best way to ensure the safety of your pipes, home and loved ones is to have a reputable plumber at your "disposal." There's only so much you can do to prevent frozen pipes before you're just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. To really safeguard your plumbing, call a pro today. Whether you have a brand new home, live in a vintage charmer or you just want a checkup to make sure you're in good shape, it's not too late for some pipe maintenance. Your plumber has a bevy of tools in his or her belt to keep pipes from freezing, such as:
- Installing a heating cable
- Foam insulation
- Fiberglass installation
- Expert sleeve or heating tape application
But what if it's too late and a pipe's already burst-or you suspect a leak? Call a licensed, reputable plumber immediately. The longer you wait, the worse the damage.
Jillynn Stevens, Ph.D. is a writer with a vast array of subject matter expertise. Along with publishing articles for large and small businesses, she researches, writes and publishes reports on various public policy issues.
Take precautions against frozen pipes in residences and businesses but if you experience them, contact a professional plumber like American Plumbing Services
in Provo and Spanish Fork, Utah.