Organizing a plan to avoid frozen pipes this winter will help you combat one of the most dreaded plumbing emergencies during cold weather. When pipes freeze, the water inside them can expand to the point where they burst. Not only will the water damage take a toll on your home, you could lose the convenience of indoor plumbing until the problem is fixed. You can easily prevent the pipes from freezing with little effort or cost.
- Learn where your home’s water shutoff valve is and how to shut it off.
- Note where the pipes are that lie inside or next to exterior walls or the attic. A kitchen or bathroom sink that lies on an exterior wall could have pipes that originate near the exterior. If you can access them, wrap them with foam sleeves that will keep them warmer.
- If your home has a crawl space or basement, seal all the cracks that let cold air enter with caulk or expanding foam. You can also wrap the pipes with loose fiberglass insulation to keep them warmer. You’ll need gloves, a dust mask, and goggles to protect yourself from the tiny particles this type of insulation emits as you handle it. You can also use heat tape to prevent frozen pipes. Some of these wraps are thermostatically controlled and they’ll turn on and off as needed.
- When you’re leaving your home for an extended period, set the temperature to 55 degrees and open the cabinet doors for the kitchen and bathroom sinks. The pipes will stay warm enough to prevent freezing.
- In the event of severely cold temperatures, let a faucet trickle overnight. Choose a faucet on the second floor if you have a two-story home, preferably one whose pipes sit near an outside wall.
- Invest in pipe sealing kits that will stop or slow a frozen pipe leak. Your local home center or hardware store may stock them, or find them online.
To learn more about preventing frozen pipes, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC and plumbing services for Portland area homeowners.