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7 Ways To Prevent Pipe Freezes This Winter (And Keep Your Water Flowing).


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Living in North Idaho, many residents know the struggle of maintaining a consistent temperature to ensure that their pipes don’t freeze. Cold weather can cause many pipes that are left unchecked to freeze or in extreme cases, burst. As the temperature drops, water slowly expands formulating ice chunks that can freeze or rupture piping due to the pressure build-up. These ruptures typically occur within an area between where the ice has accumulated and the corresponding faucet.

The primary types of piping that you will need to maintain are water pipes and not drain pipes. Since drain pipes are typically larger in size compared to your standard water pipe, there is less risk of any freezing, so no further maintenance is usually needed.

Exposed pipes in the wintertime are especially at risk with little to no insulation to protect them from the elements. Most of the time, these pipes are commonly found in attics, basements or other crawl spaces where cold air is more likely to seep in through a crack or small hole in the wall. So, what can be done to make sure the pipes don’t freeze?

Here are some quick and easy steps you can take to ensure your pipes won’t freeze this winter:

1. Cover any Crawl Spaces – By covering any crawl spaces, you will provide better insulation and prevent any pipe fractures that could occur due to the lower temperatures.

2. Place Heating Tape on all Exposed Pipes – Applying an electrical heating tape to any exposed pipes will lower your potential risk of any cracks or punctures within the pipe. Depending on the location of your pipe, you will want to choose either the manual heating tape or the self-regulating heating tape.*

*Most PVC pipes can withstand extremely high heat, which is why self-regulating heat tape is a good choice. If the weather drops below a certain number of degrees, the built-in sensor will instantly heat up the pipe and shut off once it reaches the appropriate temperature.

3. Close Garage Doors – As one of the least insulated areas in the house, it is important to remember to keep your garage closed as often as possible. This can help to further prevent your pipes from being exposed to colder temperatures and causing further issues down the road such as your water heater going out. Click here for more tips on water heater maintenance.

4. Open Cabinet Doors – Odd as it may sound, keeping both the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open will allow for more of the warmer air to get in and reach the plumbing and prevent any freezing from occurring. However, if you’re uncomfortable leaving your cupboards and cabinets open during the colder months, you can always place child proof/pet proof locks on them to ensure there is still air flow and your little ones stay safe.

5. Allow Your Faucets to Drip – Letting your faucets drip is one of the most common responses when asked what to do about pipes freezing in the wintertime. This is especially important for any exposed pipes/plumbing such as in a workshop or garage. Even the smallest trickle of water within the pipe can be enough to keep it from freezing.

6. Do NOT Lower the Thermostat – If you reside in an area that typically experiences colder temperatures than normal, chances are you likely use the heater more frequently which can cause an increase in your utility bill. As a result, some will often resort to lowering the thermostat in order to save money. Please do NOT do this. Keeping your house or place of residence at a consistent temperature of about 68° will help keep your pipes from having any issues.

7. Insulate – Taking the time to better insulate your attic, basement, crawl spaces or any other area with exposure to the cold will ensure the protection and longer lifespan of your pipes. Another good rule of thumb is to check for any cracks around doors or windows that may need to be sealed to prevent cold air from getting in.

If you’re experiencing any pipes freezing over or any other plumbing damage, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We will be happy to assess the damage and replace or make repairs if necessary. Hope Plumbing has been repairing and providing replacement plumbing services since 1978. We will always ensure that your plumbing issues get resolved correctly the first time, and we always get the job done as quickly as possible so you can get back to what matters most. Give us a call today with any questions or concerns.