It may be the furthest thing from your mind right now because we’re enjoying warmer temperatures but thinking about your pipes and how to prevent them from freezing when the temperatures drop is important any time of the year.
There are three basic reasons that pipes freeze. They are: quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. You can prevent this catastrophe by protecting your home, even during the summer months. Follow these guidelines to assure a winter that is free of frozen pipes.
Insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces and attic, even if you live in a climate where freezing is uncommon. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember that the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be. The fringe benefit of adding insulation to your attic is a savings in your heating bill. By adding insulation you are preventing warm air from escaping and thus, needing to heat it less often.
Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved for intended use, either exterior or interior. Closely follow all manufacturers' installation and operation instructions.
Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze. Again, this is also a measure that will include savings on your heating bill.
Before winter hits, disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
These are good ideas for anyone, no matter where you live, but if your area has many days of freezing temperatures in the winter, you should be especially careful to prevent frozen pipes. Taking the proper steps today to insulate, protect and seal leaks will help you experience a worry free winter.