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03 May 2015

Cheap Ways to Prevent Pipes from Freezing This Winter

Winter is now just across the street which means it’s time to prepare for common home problems that usually comes with cold temperature. Frozen pipes are one of these. You wouldn’t want to discover that there’s no water coming out of the faucet in the middle of brushing your teeth. Pipes outside and inside the house are susceptible to freezing, and these might burst and cause flood and damage to your property. Here’s how to avoid that inconvenient and costly situation:

Keep pipes insulated

Use snap-on insulation foam for your hot and cold water pipes. Include everything that is accessible, from the attic to the basement to the exterior walls. Make sure that the foam is wrapped tightly around the pipes. Put miter foam around the junctures and secure it with a duct tape. For heat pipes, it is recommended to use a UL-approved heat tape. Its integrated thermostat can avert overheating. Go by the instructions very carefully to avoid fire hazard.

Take Precautionary Steps Outside

An iced-up garden house has the potential to cause greater damage than a ruptured hose. Why? It can lead to the explosion of an interior pipe. The hose will expand when water in it freezes and the pressure around the entire plumbing system will increase that might cause the pipes to explode. In order to avoid this situation make it a part of your seasonal maintenance to disconnect and drain the garden hose before it gets colder outside.

If you’re spigot is not frost-proof, close the valve connected to it, remove and draw off the water left and install an insulator.

Close Water Supply When Leaving

When the water is on, there’s always a chance that a pipe will burst in any part of your home. Remember that the plumbing system is particularly vulnerable during the winter season, and if you won’t take precautionary measures your budget for next summer’s trip might be spent on the repair. A busted pipe or a flood is already bad enough even if you’re around to deal with it right away. Just imagine it happening while you’re somewhere else for only a few days. Turning off the water valve is a simple way to prevent costly damages.

Heating Cables for Crawlspace Pipes

Water lines below your house are also susceptible to freezing despite their location. Install heating cables around these lines before the hard freeze arrives. These will automatically alter their heat output according to the changes in the ambient temperature. They come in various lengths and diameters for metal and plastic pipes, and are widely available in the market.

You can lay the cable laterally on the pipe and secure it with plastic tie or coil it around the pipe. Never bind a heat cable onto another heat cable as this can be a fire hazard.

Let the Warm Air Do It

In order to avoid pipes underneath the sink from freezing, it is advised to open the cabinet doors that usually conceal them. This way the warmer air can get there and help keep the pipes from getting ice-up.

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