Frozen pipes can be a disaster. Aside from the obvious damage to plumbing a burst pipe can cause, the repercussions can also include structural damage, flooding and eventually mold. The way to avoid these nightmares is with preventive measures. Here are seven to get you started:
- First, insulate any exposed pipes. Pay special attention to those in the attic, crawl spaces, outside walls or unfinished basements. And don’t be stingy — more insulation means more protection.
- Check for any cracks or crevices where air can get in. In any area where there are pipes, be sure to double check any vents, wiring or outlets to ensure there are no leaks. If you find any, insulate well or use caulk to fill the cracks.
- Open any cabinet doors that house piping. Frozen pipes can be prevented by letting a room’s warmer air reach them.
- During a cold snap, allow faucets to drip. Pipes that burst aren’t caused by ice alone. It is the pressure behind the chunk of ice that eventually causes the burst. By allowing the faucets to drip, you are relieving the pressure behind any ice that may have built up. If the dripping ceases leave the faucets open. There may be a section of frozen pipe, but there will be no pressure built up behind it to make it burst.
- Don’t turn down the thermostat, especially at night.
- If you’re leaving a property vacant, leave the thermostat set to at least 55 degrees. Have someone check regularly to ensure the heat is still on, or shut the water off and drain the pipes.
- Before temperatures drop, disconnect all garden hoses and drain the water from the short pipe that leads to the outside tap.
Frozen pipes are preventable if you follow these steps. If you need to update your heating or cooling system, or need HVAC service or maintenance in Portland, call the experts at Roth Heating &Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about preventing frozen pipes and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.