If you’ve had a flooded basement from a pipe bursting due to cold temperatures, you already know how important it is to keep pipes from freezing. Single-digit and subzero temperatures can cause even the most well-insulated pipes to freeze. Uninsulated pipes are at risk when temps dip below freezing.
Freezing creates pressure in the pipe that causes cracks or breaks, so when the water thaws, it blasts from the newly formed crack, flooding your home. Unsupervised, a busted pipe can cause a flooded basement and tens of thousands of dollars in damage in your home.
The good news is there are ways to protect your pipes against freezing temperatures. Keeping pipes and the water in them above freezing means you don’t need to worry about cracking, busting, bursting, or a flooded basement.
What are five things you can do to prevent pipe freezes?
- Run the Heat
If the house you’re worried about is empty and you’ve turned off the heat to save money, now is the time to turn it back on. Leaving the heat running when the house isn’t occupied is one of the best ways to keep temperatures high enough to prevent frozen pipes.
Homes that are occupied on a full-time basis can run the heat as usual, although an extra degree or two when temps drop below zero won’t hurt. But if you’re headed on a winter getaway or a house has no current residents, make sure the heat stays set at a minimum of 50 degrees during the colder weather. This prevents freezing and means you won’t be returning home to a flooded basement.
- Drip the Faucet
Keeping the water in pipes moving reduces the risks associated with freezing. Open any faucets connected to potentially problematic pipes far enough to allow a slight drip. This won’t prevent the pipe from freezing, but it can prevent it from bursting because it relieves the pressure.
- Open Cabinet Doors
If your home is like many others, you probably have pipes located under cabinets. When temperatures drop, you should open these cabinet doors to allow the heat in your home to reach the pipes.
- Install Heating Tape
Heating tape wraps around pipes and keeps them warm when temperatures plummet. You can choose from tape that turns on and off automatically or tape that plugs into an electrical outlet. This works best for small sections of pipe that have the highest risk for freezing. Heating tape should be installed by a professional to ensure it’s used safely and isn’t exposed to any combustible materials.
- Increase Insulation
Insulation is your home’s best friend when it’s cold outside. If you have pipes that are in an area that isn’t insulated all that well, it’s a good idea to increase the amount of insulation to keep them from freezing. There are several different types of insulation that can be installed around your at-risk pipes to keep them warm. A professional can help you choose the best type of insulation for your circumstances and make sure it is installed properly.
One final tip: Remember, it’s not only homes located in cold climates that are at risk for freezing. In fact, homes in areas that tend to be warmer usually don’t have the insulation needed to stand up to the occasional cold snap. It’s a good idea to have your pipes checked regardless of where you’re located so you’ll know they are properly protected and you don’t need to worry about freezing, bursting, or flooded basements.
If you’d like more tips for dealing with winter weather or you need to speak to someone about a burst pipe or flooded basement, contact Rapid Dry Restoration at 303.710.8423.