As cold as it gets in our part of the country, you can just expect that some homes are going to have pipe bursts. Are there things you can do to minimize your pipes’ exposure to freezing temperatures and frozen pipes? Read on for some helpful tips.
Why Pipes Freeze
Pipes burst during cold weather because water expands when it freezes. This expansion puts huge pressure on the pipes, whether metal or plastic.
Pipes most likely to freeze are those found outdoors, such as hose bibs, water sprinkler lines and swimming pool supply lines. Also, pipes in unheated interior spaces such as attics and basements, crawl spaces, garages and those that run along interior exterior walls may all be subject to freezing.
Protecting Your Pipes
Obviously, any pipes that are exposed to cold, moving air are more likely to freeze than others. The first step to protect exposed pipes is to insulate them, but be aware this alone may not prevent freezing, but rather will slow down the heat transfer rate.
For pipes in an unheated garage or those exposed to the elements, wrap heater tapes between the pipes and the insulation, or in a dry, enclosed space, use a reflector lamp. Some tapes won’t work with insulation, so carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions.
For pipes located under the sink against an exposed wall, leave the cabinet door open a bit so that heat can circulate inside. If your kitchen or bathroom pipes are particularly vulnerable, use a space heater in the room on very cold nights. You can also leave the water on to drip slightly to prevent freezing.
Outdoors, shut off the water valve to spigots, drain any excess water from the pipes and disconnect water hoses before the temperature drops to freezing
If you plan to be away from home in the winter, have someone check your home periodically to make sure your pipes are OK. You don’t want to come home to a flood.
For more on preventing pipe bursts, contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors. We’ve served Monmouth County for three generations.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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