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How to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing

 Pipes from Freezing

Winter is bad enough without having to worry about your pipes freezing and bursting. But that is exactly what can happen when you don't prepare your pipes.

The deep-freezing temperatures of winter can freeze the water within pipes. When this happens pressure can build up as more water is called and blocked and the ice expands.

Eventually the pipe will burst causing a massive flooding issue in your house. The good news is, this fate is easily avoided. Keep reading to discover how to keep your pipes from freezing next winter.


Keep Your Heat On

If you plan on going for a vacation this winter, either for the holidays or just somewhere warm for a bit, leave your heat on. This will provide the pipes less of a chance to freeze while you are gone.

Now this may seem like a waste, heating a home that no one is occupying, but that is the point. With no one in the house there is no one to run the hot water or adjust the thermostat to keep the house comfortable for the occupants.

Instead the pipes will be dormant with no heat flowing through them. This will lead to your pipes freezing and a major flooding issue for you to contend with when you return.

Instead set your thermostat at reasonable temperature, above 50 degrees is a good place. While it is a good idea to leave your heat on, you don't need to heat your home as you if you were home. 

Exposed and At-Risk Pipe

Before winter arrives, it would be a good idea to assess your home (interior and exterior) to determine if there are any at risk pipes. If you do find any exposed pipe that may be at risk for freezing and it's easily accessible you can apply heating tape or pipe insulation.

Heating Tape

With heating tape, you can protect short exposed pieces of pipe. The heating tape actually applies heat directly to the pipe.

There are two types of heating tape, automatic and manual. Automatic heating tape with shut off and on as heat is needed. Manual heating tape requires plugging in and unplugging of a chord when turning on or off the tape.

Much like an electric heater, though, this equipment should be used with caution and all manufacturer directions and recommendations should be followed at all times. 

Insulation

When it comes to protecting your pipes from freezing during sudden temperature drops or while you're away, there is not much that can beat pipe insulation.

Places to look out for where pipes might need extra insulation are basements and attics. Pipes are particularly vulnerable if not insulated properly.

Pipes can be outfitted with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to help prevent freezing and bursting. While this may seem like the most cost-effective option as well bear in mind it can get expensive. If an installer is required to get under floors boards, and into ceilings, the price can climb pretty quickly.


Keep Water Running

If there is a faucet that is served by exposed pipes let the water drip. While you may be thinking absolutely not, you'll change your tune when you realize why.

Letting water drip from a faucet can protect pipes in a couple of ways. One the opening of the faucet relieves pressure build up within the pipe. This can help prevent the pipe from bursting.

Secondly the pipes will have a constant flow of water through them. Moving water is less likely to freeze (or at least will take longer) than stagnant water. This can save you countless dollars while you're away on vacation should your pipes freeze.

Protecting Your Pipes

There's nothing worse than dealing with a flood in the middle of the winter because a frozen pipe burst. Luckily there are easy ways to prevent this unfortunate circumstance from happening.

Things like extra insulation, leaving the heat on while away on vacation, and leaving the faucet served by exposed pipes dripping, can help keep your pipes from freezing and bursting.

Be sure to identify all the at-risk areas of pipe and treat those first. Keep in mind though; the harder the pipe is to reach the more it will cost to protect it from freezing especially if you are trying to apply extra insulation or heating tape.

Regardless of the reason though, taking care of your pipes is much more affordable than fixing them after they break.

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