The winter months have become absolutely crazy with temperatures going from low to high in many places. Having a steady freezing temperature is bad enough but the constant back and forth barrage we are seeing can cause more problems than a constant 20 degree temperature. When we see warm temperatures one day, everything warms up including our plumbing systems and pipes. When the temperature drops the next to below freezing, we now have a situation where sweat could have built up outside of pipes that has now froze making the pipes even colder and possibly lead to a fracture faster than a steady cold temperature where a slight faucet drip keeps water flowing. This article will offer tips on how you can protect yourself not only against freezing temps but also the chaotic temperature changes we have been seeing recently.
Pipe insulation is a fantastic way to protect your pipes as it is not expensive and easily found at your favorite store. These are sections of foam tubing with a small adhesive strip along the slit. You simply slide the pipe into the foam slit and remove the protective strip from the adhesive and press it together. Make sure that you also cover bends and joints as these areas can freeze as well. A small piece of insulation used in walls or the attic, will do the trick as you simply wrap those areas and tape up with gorilla or duct tape.
Make sure you know where all of your shut off are located. This will ensure that you can close off water to a certain area without turning off the main and depriving the whole house of water. This also allows you to turn off areas that may not be in use such as outside spickets and faucets to prevent damage.
Always keep your faucets with a steady drip. You do not want a slow stream as that is too much water and a drip every two or three seconds will do the trick as any less than that will allow the pipes to freeze. This should be done in kitchens, bathrooms, etc.
Most water pipes run under the home where it i cold or against outside walls. For this reason we need to open cabinets and allow the warm air in the house to circulate underneath. This may not seem like much help but it will allow for a section of warm pipe and if the temperatures are not dropping at rapid rates, will actually help prevent freezing in the upper sections of the pipe.
Always remove your garden hoses in cold weather. Not only do you have water in the hose that will freeze, it will cause any buildup in the faucet to freeze and the pipe to burst. With the hose off, you can let the faucet to dry a bit and pop a soda cap on it to prevent any internal damage.
Following these suggestions will get you on the path to winterizing your plumbing for winter or the odd weather we have been seeing. The main cost you will have is pipe insulation which, depending on where you live, will run around 8 dollars for a bag with about twenty feet of foam tubing. The time and cost to protect and insulate your pipes will save you hundreds in costly repairs so why not start this project as soon as possible?