Frozen pipes. Two little words that when put together can cause a great amount of anxiety in homeowners.
Frozen pipes are, without a doubt, one of the biggest concerns for homeowners during the winter months, especially here in Indiana where we often get some truly brutal winters. That and figuring out who is going to shovel their driveway, of course.
It’s a simple enough of a concept: when the temperature drops, if pipes aren’t properly heated or insulated, the water inside freezes causing water to be blocked from coming out of faucets until they are thawed. But did you know it isn’t just the pipes freezing that causes people to call their plumber?
The thawing part is when things get really tricky.
When water freezes, it expands. This expansion puts a lot of stress on pipes causing them to sometimes bulge, crack, leak or burst altogether. The leaking and rushing of water through cracks and bursts upon thawing can cause serious water damage, particularly if the pipes are hidden behind walls or under your floors.
On average, burst pipes can cause up to $5,000 in water damage costs alone. So, it should go without saying that preventing pipes from freezing should be a number one priority for homeowners.
Here are 4 simple ways you can keep your pipes from freezing and avoid the damage and high costs that often accompany them.
Keep your heat on
We know heating bills can get ridiculous, but winter is no time to get stingy with your heat. Probably the most surefire way to keep your pipes from freezing is by keeping your thermostat running and your house nice and warm.
One of the most common occurrences of frozen pipes is when people leave their homes during the winter for extended periods of time, whether they are visiting family or going on vacation. Many homeowners will drop their thermostat way down or off altogether to avoid a big bill upon their return. This isn’t a bad idea, but just be sure you don’t let it get too cold.
A good rule is to always keep your home’s temperature above 50 degrees.
Let faucets drip
This is another great trick, especially if you are planning to leave your home for an extended period. Go through your home and turn your faucets on just enough that a little bit of water dribbles out. Opening faucets in this way helps relieve pressure buildups that contribute to pipes bursting.
Opening faucets also allows a small, yet continuous, stream of water to move through your pipes at all times. This helps keep the water within your pipes from freezing.
Without getting all scientific on you, running water is a lot harder to freeze than standing water. Just think about a creek or stream out in the woods. That water may get cold as all get-out, but it also doesn’t freeze as often.
Add extra insulation/heat
Pipes in colder, more exposed areas of a home like your basement or attic are at much greater risk of freezing than other areas of your home. This is because, typically, the amount of insulation or heat that is pushed to these areas is much less than say your bathroom or kitchen.
Consider adding a little extra heat or insulation to these pipes during the winter time. There are foam rubber and fiberglass sleeves that can be easily applied to pipes that give them extra protection from the cold.
If the space permits, putting a small space heater in the area where the pipes are can also help keep them warm.
Keep pipes exposed
For pipes throughout your home that are more easily accessed, like in your kitchen or bathroom, that are covered by cabinets, you don’t have to go to such extensive lengths to keep them warm and covered up.
However, keeping cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathroom open is an easy way to keep pipes warm. Keeping the doors open helps let the warm air going through your home get easy access to the pipes.
Of course, accidents can still happen. If your pipes freeze this winter, make Mishler Plumbing your first call! Call (317) 858-3089 today to schedule your service.