As the winter starts to approach, one problem that plagues many homeowners is frozen pipes. They can stop the flow of water running to a bathroom or kitchen, and in a worst case situation, cause a pipe to burst. Here are some ways that you can prevent a pipe from freezing this upcoming winter.
Raise The Thermostat
Water needs to stay above 32°F to prevent freezing from occurring, but that doesn't mean you are safe as long as your thermostat is above that temperature. Your pipes are deep within your walls, and don't get the direct exposure to your HVAC's heating system, meaning you must keep your home heated very well. You may think that you are saving money by keeping your thermostat low, but you could end up paying more in a costly plumbing repair.
Avoid turning off your thermostat if you plan on leaving your home for a vacation. Unfortunately, there is not a magic number to set your thermostat to, since every home has different construction and insulation that can affect the pipes.
Insulate The Pipes
If you do have pipes in areas of your home that are very cold, such as an unheated basement, it will help to install pipe insulation around them. It's a very easy process that you can even do on your own. All you need to do is get an approximate measurement of how much pipe you need to insulate, and purchase the appropriate length of pipe insulation foam. The foam is already cut down the middle for you, so it is easy to slip on the existing pipes with minimal effort.
Keep in mind that you need to insulate both hot and cold water pipes. Hot water lines that remain stagnant will eventually lose their heat, which is when they run the risk of freezing.
The areas between your walls where pipes are located are already very cold, but a draft is going to make them much colder. If you have any holes in your home's exterior where a contractor needed to run a cable or utility line, make sure that the gap is sealed with spray foam insulation. You can purchase it at your local home improvement store, and simply fill in gaps that you find around your home.
Let The Water Flow
If your town is hit with another polar vortex with record low temperatures, the previous preventative steps may not be enough. When you know the temperature will reach record lows, keep the faucets in your home dripping slightly. This will keep water flowing and will prevent the pipes from freezing.
When a pipe does burst, you'll need to call in professional help. Have a local plumbing service like Roto-Rooter on your speed dial so that you can get in touch with them as soon as possible.