The Cold Isn’t Over Yet – Protect Your Pipes From Freezing
It’s easy to focus on the warm days in the winter months in Atlanta. Yet no matter how warm it may get to during the day, it’s the night lows that matter most. If unprotected water lines are subjected to freezing temperatures, they can freeze. And if that happens, you’ll face a big mess and costly expense as you deal with the disaster.
Why pipes burst
As the temperature drops, water inside plumbing pipes can freeze. But it’s not the expanding ice that causes the pipes to burst. Instead, it’s the water build-up between the faucet and the ice. If pressure builds before the ice has a chance to thaw, the pipe breaks, and water flows freely. Damage can also occur if unprotected pipes freeze, thaw, and refreeze over and over again, until eventually, the pipe ruptures under pressure.
Prevention is the best action
The best way to prevent pipes from bursting is to insulate water pipes, especially in unheated parts of your home. This includes your crawlspace, basement, attic, and garage. You can insulate as simply as wrapping them yourself, or using foam insulating sleeves you can purchase from your local big box store. But realize this is a temporary fix; the only way to fix the problem is to hire a professional plumber to make the changes necessary to prevent freezing altogether.
You can also take extra precautions when the temperatures dip unexpectedly to record lows. If you have a garage, ensure the door stays closed during the coldest parts of the day. Leave cabinet doors open to allow heat to flow inside, especially if the pipes are along exterior walls. Let water drip from the faucets to curb pressure.
If you are traveling for an extended period of time, don’t turn your furnace off or set it too low. Don’t go lower than 55 degrees to keep the inside temperature at an acceptable level. You should also turn off the water supply at the water main to ensure you won’t have unexpected surprises when you return home.
If you experience this problem each year, it might be time to hire a licensed plumber to re-route your supply lines and water pipes away from the coldest areas of your home. After inspection, they can make recommendations to decrease the chances of experiencing pipe problems each year.
How do you protect your plumbing pipes from freezing each year?