We all have this one really irritating friend in Florida who is already posting beach selfies – in February – but unfortunately, its not spring yet here in Ohio. With temperatures still in the low 30s this week it is important that homeowners are still protecting your pipes in freezing weather. When water hits 32 degrees, it freezes, which can cause a rise in pressure in your lines, and result in bursting pipes in the middle of the night. Here at Drain Tech we believe in preventative maintenance whenever possible with your plumbing, and offer you these handy tips. They will help you to potentially avoid any damage in your home when the next freeze hits, whether you are bunkered down for the storm or have hightailed it to the south yourself!
If you are actively in the residence:
- Keep the heat on, ideally above 50 degrees. This should provide enough heat to prevent your indoor pipes from reaching freezing temps.
- Keep the water moving. A small, steady trickle provides enough of a flow to prevent stagnation in the pipeline, releasing the pressure on the system and in turn stopping them from freezing.
- Have an open door policy. Most of your vulnerable pipes are hidden by cabinet doors. Keeping these doors open will allow the air flow from the room to reach them more easily. It also is a good idea to keep room doors open to encourage the flow.
- Check around the home for cracks and holes, both inside and out. If you find any areas where the seals are broken, a simple application of caulk or other insulator can have a great impact on retaining heat. Even small cracks can allow cold air to hit your pipes. Also, if you have older copper or metal pipes, they are more vulnerable to the cold than plastic, so pay particular attention to these areas.
- Try heating tape. Heating tape has a few different forms, typically found in a model that plugs in and is controlled manually, and one that is automatic. Both can be handy for small sections of pipe in high risk areas, but be aware that these products can have their own hazards. Like space heaters, if used improperly or insufficiently monitored, you can accidently set things on fire. Use heating tape with caution.
- Do a thorough check of your insulation. Basements, attics, and crawl spaces. If these areas are properly insulated, it can help to prevent heat loss throughout your home and make all of the above steps more effective. If they aren consider using fiberglass or foam rubber tubing to help insulate any ppes in these areas. Remember though, these products are designed to keep the temp of the pipe closer to the water inside it, not to add heat, and they still should be sealed with caulk to be most effective.
If you are leaving the residence for the season:
If you’ve had enough of the cold and are headed for sand white beaches, the above tips are still effective to help prevent damage in your home while you’re away;however, there are a few additional steps you can take.
- Leave the heat on- I know, who wants to pay that utility bill? But the same advice applies: keep the homes temp around 50 degrees, and leave doors open, to prevent temps from falling to low in the unoccupied dwelling. Imagine how much more it will cost if a pipe bursts while you are away and you don’t know about it for an extended period of time. Itś worth it.
- Turn off the main water valve, then follow up with your water pump and water heater. Take the time to drain your water heater too, but check to see if it has a drain! You may have to connect a hose to it first.
- Room by room, open all of your drain valves and taps. This will relieve pressure in the system, and should be left open during your departure.
- After your hot water tank has been fully drained, you can add extra protection by adding an antifreeze solution to the jet pump case.
- Check your bathrooms, and flush as much of the water out of your toilet bowl as possible. If any remains, you can add antifreeze to be safe. It also doesn hurt to add antifreeze to any sink or tub drain that may have a trap.
- Did you check your hose bibs? As an outside pipe, these poor guys are usually an oversight, and liable to explode in the middle of the night. Drain them and cover in the same manner as other pipes, then find the shut off valve and disconnect them.
While summer may still be a dream for most of us, if you follow these steps for protecting your pipes in freezing weather, you can rest assured that you will save money on winter pipe repairs- and maybe even be able to take a vacation this year! If you didn’t read this article and time and have a broken line, we are here to help! Don’t hesitate to call us at (937) 222- 8888 anytime, 24/7, and one or our certified Drain Techs will be there to help.
And if those Florida posts are getting to be just way too much? You can always unfollow your Florida friends until the summer!