Avoid Frozen Pipes This Winter: 6 Easy Tips to Keep the Heat Flowing
During the cold winter months, the team at NYC Plumbing Service is no stranger to plumbing emergencies. One of the most common that we encounter is the issue of frozen pipes in our customers’ homes. Very cold temperatures can cause pipes to get extremely cold and then freeze, causing a major inconvenience for you and your family. Many landlords are afraid they will get this call from a tenant during the winter months. There are, however, steps you can take to prevent this problem from occurring. Want to keep your pipes warm, just the way they should be? Read on for some tips to help you keep the pipes on your property from freezing.
Frozen Facts: Are Frozen Pipes Only a Cold Climate Problem?
Actually, no. Frozen pipes can actually occur in any climate. Many people mistakenly believe that frozen pipes are only an issue for those in typically cold climates. However, the homes that are actually more vulnerable to frozen pipes are those in typically warmer climates because the pipes may not be properly insulated against such frigid temperatures during the winter.
Don’t Let Your Pipes Burst!
Frozen pipes are a problem mostly because they prevent hot water flow, but even worse, frozen pipes can eventually burst, causing damage and potential flooding. The good news is, there are steps you can take to help prevent this problem from occurring when the temperatures drop.
1. Make Sure You Keep the Heat On
If you or your family are planning on leaving the house for an extended period of time, make sure that the heat is kept on. Leaving on the heat can help prevent pipes from freezing, and if pipes freeze and burst, it can cause a lot of water damage to the property and to your possessions. Be mindful of the fact that the heat does not have to be kept as high as you normally would keep it if you were actually at home. If you keep your thermostat set at about 50 degrees, you should be fine. This should provide enough heat to keep the pipes warm and to prevent any water inside from freezing.
2. Let the Faucet Keep Dripping
If you are trying to avoid a frozen pipe, don’t turn your faucet off all the way. It is wise for you to allow the faucet to drip slightly. Keeping the water flowing just a bit will relieve pressure in your piping system. If pipe freezes, it is actually the pressure that is created between the blockage and the faucet that will cause the pipe to burst. Allowing the faucet to be open will prevent any pressure from building up, therefore avoiding a pipe freeze.
3. Keep the Cabinet Doors Open
Did you know that pipes are often located behind cabinets? When the temperatures drop, it is a good idea to keep these cabinet doors open so that the heat from the rest of the house can keep the pipes warm as well. You should also keep all interior doors open so that the heat can flow throughout the home.
4. Cracks and Holes in the Walls? Seal Them Up!
Cold air should be kept out of your home as best as possible. If you notice any cracks or holes in the walls of your house, you should caulk them up, especially if they exist near any of your pipes. This should be done on both interior and exterior walls. Doing so can help keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
5. Heating Tape: A Hidden Gem
For pipes that are easily accessible, the electrical heating tape may be an option to keep them from freezing. This tape can be applied directly to the pipe. There are two types of heating tape. One type of heating tape turns on and off by itself when it senses heat is needed. The other type of heating tape needs to be plugged in when heat is needed and unplugged when not in use.
Much like a space heater, these products can be dangerous, so you must follow the product’s directions and safety procedures precisely.
6. There is No Such Thing as Too Much Insulation
Pipes that are located in areas that do not have proper insulation, such as basements or attics, may need extra insulation to keep from freezing. Pipes in basements or attics are not the only ones that may not be properly insulated from the cold. If you have had a problem with pipes freezing anywhere in your home, extra insulation could be the cure. Pipes can be fitted with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to help decrease the chances of freezing. This can be an easy solution for pipes that are exposed but can get expensive if walls, floors or ceilings have to be opened in order to properly insulate the pipe. Additional insulation can also be added to walls and ceilings to keep the pipes warm.
Follow some of these guidelines, and you will be sure to keep the warmth in your home all winter long. If you do end up with a frozen or burst pipe, you know that you can call NYC Plumbing Service anytime to fix the problem!