Keeping Pipes from Freezing

The cold weather is upon us. Unfortunately, this means that across America, from Lansing, Michigan, to Denver, Colorado, many homeowners will face the nightmare of frozen pipes.

While everyone needs clean water in their homes, when pipes burst, there are more immediate problems. Many people are surprised to learn that it isn’t just people in cold regions that have to worry about freezing and burst pipes. Homes in warmer climates are also at risk for burst pipes since these homes are not typically insulated for cold temperatures.

In order to prevent frozen pipes this winter, which can burst and cause flooding, it is important to take the following precautions:

  1. Add insulation. Many homes have pipes in areas that are not properly insulated. In these cases, it is important to add extra insulation. Examples would be in basements or attics. Exposed pipes also can be fitted with rubber or fiberglass sleeves.
  2. Consider heating tape. If you have easy access to pipes you may want to consider heating tape. This tape is applied directly to pipes to keep them from freezing. Some types of heating tape sense when they need to turn on and others need to be turned on manually. Use this tape with caution and follow directions on the tape carefully.
  3. Keep your heat on at all times. Even if you will be on vacation, it is important to keep the heat on in your home. While you don’t have to keep it as high as you would if you were home, keeping it on will provide enough warmth to keep the pipes from freezing.
  4. Let a faucet drip. Allowing a slight drip from a faucet will help to relieve pressure in your pipes, helping to ensure that pipes don’t burst.
  5. Open cabinet doors. Many times, pipes are located in cabinets. By leaving cabinets open, they will be exposed to more heat. You also should keep interior doors open for the same reason. Heat should be allowed to travel throughout your home to prevent any cold spots from impacting pipes.
  6. Seal things up. If there are cracks or holes near pipes, caulk those areas up. This will help to keep warm air in and cold air out. You should make sure you seal up any cracks in interior and exterior walls for the same reason.

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