When water freezes into ice, it expands and takes up more space than it previously did. This can be a serious problem in your plumbing, as your pipes can violently burst and allow water to spew into your home, causing a great deal of water damage and opening up the potential for mold and mildew growth – not to mention expensive plumbing repairs. Thankfully, there are a number of things that you can do to winterize your plumbing and reduce the risk of your pipes from bursting.
Winterizing Inside Your Home
- Install insulation around any exposed pipes, especially those that are against outside walls or near windows. You can find special insulation that is designed to fit around standard plumbing pipes at most hardware stores. All you have to do is cut it to size and adhere it to the pipes.
- If you are unable to place insulation around your pipes, you can place space heaters in crawl spaces or areas that are not as well heated as the rest of your home. This can help keep your pipes warm and keep your water flowing.
- You should open the cabinet doors underneath your sink to allow the hot air in the rest of your home to access the pipes. This also holds true for any other exposed plumbing in your house that may be covered up by cabinetry.
- Leave the heat on in your home, even when you're not there. While this may increase your energy bills slightly over the course of the winter months, the potential damage that could be caused by a burst pipe far outweighs it.
- On particularly cold nights during which the temperature will reach far below freezing, you should leave the taps running at a slow, steady drip. Flowing water will not freeze as easily as standing water, so a small, constant amount of water draining through a faucet will prevent the pipes from freezing.
Winterizing Outside Your Home
- You should disconnect your garden hoses and drain them of any remaining water. You should then store them in a warm, dry area (like the garage or the basement) where they will not be adversely affected by the cold weather.
- If you have a sprinkler system, you should turn it off and have a professional come in and drain it of all remaining water. Sprinkler systems are fairly fragile, so even a minuscule amount of water in the system can cause expensive damage if left through the winter.
For more advice, speak with professionals like Dependable Plumbing.