Winter brings a set of challenges for your home, with the plumbing system being particularly susceptible to vulnerabilities when temperatures plummet. Frozen pipes, in particular, emerge as a significant issue during this season, prompting numerous calls for treatment or repairs due to the damage they can cause.
While we are committed to delivering swift repair services, we also advocate for prevention as an effective strategy. Understanding how to prevent frozen pipes can save you considerable time and effort in the long run.
Why Are Frozen Pipes a Problem?
Frozen pipes pose a twofold challenge: not only do they obstruct the flow of water to the affected outlet, but they also have the potential to inflict substantial damage on your pipes and home. When water freezes, it expands, exerting pressure against the inner walls of the pipe. The strength of ice can be surprisingly formidable, and without proper attention, frozen pipes may burst, escalating a minor issue into a significant repair concern.
Burst pipes send water into the surrounding space, which can affect drywall, electrical wiring, and anything else nearby. Fixing that damage comes on top of reaching the affected pipe and replacing or repairing the damaged section. In some cases, the damage can sit unnoticed for quite some time, such as if the pipe bursts in the middle of the night, or if your family is on vacation when it occurs.
Prevention Is the Key
When dealing with frozen or burst pipes, it’s crucial to refrain from attempting repairs on your own. Trained plumbers possess the expertise to accurately identify affected areas and carry out necessary repairs. Collaborate with your plumber to proactively prevent such issues and undertake a few simple tasks yourself.
Initiate a plumbing session with your plumber to identify potential problem areas, particularly pipes running along exterior walls.
Prioritize draining outside pipes of water and shutting off water flow to them until the arrival of spring.
Engage a plumber to install insulation on vulnerable pipes, ensuring that the water inside remains in liquid form.
Maintain a thermostat setting of at least 55 degrees consistently, whether it’s nighttime or when you’re away from home.
During extremely cold periods, run both hot and cold water in a thin trickle. While this may lead to a slight increase in your water bill, the cost is minimal compared to potential damage prevention.
Ensure all family members are familiar with the location of the shutoff valve for your home plumbing system, allowing them to quickly reach it in the event of a burst pipe, thereby stopping the water flow and mitigating damage.
Seal any air leaks around pipe openings in the walls, especially those on the exterior parts of the home. Sealants, readily available at hardware or home improvement stores, can effectively address this issue.
Before leaving the house, open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to enable warm air circulation near the pipes, enhancing their protection against freezing.
Routine Maintenance for Pipe Longevity
In addition to proactive prevention measures during winter, regular maintenance contributes significantly to the longevity of your plumbing system. Periodically inspecting pipes for signs of wear, corrosion, or leaks allows for timely intervention, preventing minor issues from evolving into major concerns. Routine maintenance can include flushing drains with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, inspecting water heaters for sediment buildup, and checking for any exposed or vulnerable pipes. By incorporating these practices into your home care routine, you not only enhance the efficiency of your plumbing system but also reduce the risk of unexpected disruptions throughout the year.
For quality plumbing services, call upon the experts at Wm. Henderson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. today!