Water is the most powerful force on the planet. Its power is responsible for the many great wonders of the earth; wonders like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and the Cliffs of Mohr. It can create things of great beauty, or cause massive destruction, like when it swallows great cities whole. It can also cause damage to your home. Water does a curious thing when it freezes: it expands. When this happens, tremendous force is exerted on whatever is containing it, and when what’s containing it is your pipes, that can cause great damage to your home.
For over 30 years, the experts at Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing have been dependably serving the greater Atlanta area. During that time, we’ve seen it all, including the destruction caused by frozen pipes. So that doesn’t happen to you, today we’re going to show you 5 ways to prevent pipes from freezing this winter.
Prepare Pipes with Insulation
The first thing you want to do is attack the problem before it happens. With regards to frozen pipes, you want to make sure exposed or venerable pipes are properly insulated. Foam or rubber pipe covers can be found at any hardware store and come pre-split, making them easy to install onto pipes. You want to make sure pipes in areas like the basement, attic, or under a pier and beam home are always properly outfitted with insulation. If you have venerable pipes within the exterior walls of the home that are difficult to reach, blow-in insulation is a viable option to protect them from freezing. Outside garden faucets in the front or back of the house can be fitted with a Styrofoam insulation kit to further protect them from fridge temperatures.
Keep the Heat on Inside the Home
On extremely cold nights, set the thermostat to between 68 and 70 degrees. This will help interior pipes in the kitchen and bathroom stay above freezing temperatures. What’s more, if you will be leaving for any period of time over 12 hours, make sure to keep the heat on inside your home. It’s tempting to shut off the heat when you’re not there in the hopes of a lower energy bill. However, this is a bad idea if cold weather is expected. If a pipe were to burst while you were gone, the cleanup and damage caused would cost way more than leaving the heat on for a few days.
The Dip Method Technique
Moving water doesn’t freeze as easily as still water. Sure, we all learned this in science class when we were kids, but this knowledge could end up saving you a lot of money and headache. If you’re expecting a deep freeze, allow this water inside the home to drip from the faucets. Make sure you allow both the cold and hot water to dip so that neither pipe freezes. This will also relieve the pressure on the pipes – making frozen pipes much more unlikely.
Open Cabinet Doors
Because pipes are often found inside cabinets like in the kitchen and bathroom, it’s a good idea to leave these doors open when a deep freeze is expected. This will allow the temperature from inside the home to more easily reach the pipes and prevent freezing. Also, be sure to leave the cabinet doors open if you leave the home for more than just a few hours.
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
It happens. Sometimes you’re just caught off guard, so you need to know what to do if you find that one or more of your pipes have frozen. Before you do anything – if you discover you have a frozen pipe – turn off the water supply valve. A frozen pipe doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a crack, but if you do, you want to make sure to minimize any damage by shutting off the water. Remember, it’s not the freezing nut rather the thawing that does the real damage. After the water is shut off you can use a blow dryer or space heater to thaw the pipes. Do not use a torch, as this is a fire hazard.
While these tips should help you avoid frozen pipes, they are no substitute for a professional in-home inspection of your plumbing. The experts at Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing are your line of defense again Old Man Winter. If you find yourself staring down the barrel of a plumbing or HVAC-related problem this winter, call Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Also, email us, or chat with a representative in the chatbox to schedule service today!