Knowhow-Now Article

Plumbing Precautions You Can Take To Ensure You Survive The Winter

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.

Tip: To avoid frozen pipes in your home, never allow the temperature in your house to drop below freezing and insulate any pipes that are exposed to the elements. The pipes will be able to freeze if the temperature surrounding the pipes drops below freezing.

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.

Tip: If you discover a pipe has frozen, open a tap on the line to allow the thawing ice to drain. This can relieve the pipe pressure that could cause bursting and further home damage.

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.

Tip: Get to know the tools and how they are used for the most success in plumbing. Research the project you are going to attempt online, and read the manuals that come with the tools before you use them.

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.

Tip: You need to avoid using any kind of tablet or odor remover in your toilet if at all possible. While these tablets may be an easy way to clean your toilet and hide odors, they also contain chemicals that can break down the rubber fixtures in your toilet.

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.

Tip: Check the floor for soft areas around the toilet to determine floor damage. Sit on the toilet and move from side to side, placing one foot on the ground.

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?

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