Now that snowflakes are falling and icicles are forming on the edges of your roof, you need to think about winterizing your home. One of the features that needs your extra care and attention at this time is your plumbing system.
As the temperatures plunge, the risks of your pipes freezing over will rise higher. If you want to avoid this seasonal problem, you should set aside a day to thoroughly insulate your pipes.
Why should you insulate your pipes?
You will find out you have a frozen pipe when you turn on a tap and nothing comes out of the faucet. While this is not the worst plumbing issue you can encounter, it can certainly be inconvenient when you intend to wash your hands, take a shower or cook dinner.
The bigger reason why you should care about insulating your plumbing is that frozen pipes often lead to burst ones — the ice puts a severe amount of pressure on the pipe until it breaks and sends water spewing out. The extent of the damage depends on whether the residents are home to respond to the disaster or not.
What do you do if one bursts?
The first thing you should do is call an emergency plumbing service to come to your house. The local company Sewer Squad is always ready to offer urgent plumbing help. If you don’t know where your shut-off valve is, they can find it for you and stop the stream from spilling out. They will detect the initial source of the burst and fix the pipe or replace it.
How do you insulate the pipes?
Depending on the function of the pipe, you will have to choose the right pipe insulation to go with it — there are materials that are well-suited for hot-water pipes and others for cold water lines. The most popular choice is conventional foam insulation that comes in the form of a tube with a single slit, which you slip over the pipe and tape shut.
What else can you do?
There are additional steps you can take after you have put insulation on your pipes. If there is a cold warning, one of the best things you can do to stop pipes bursting is to keep the indoor temperature nice and warm by turning up the thermostat by a few degrees.
Here is a quick list of other ideas that will prevent the pipes from freezing over:
- Open up cupboards so that the heat can reach pipes hidden from view
- Caulk around windows and doors
- Lightly run taps during cold snaps
If you are ever leaving for a vacation, you should turn off your main water valve. Burst pipes and flooding will happen when the house is unheated and unoccupied. The last thing you want to be greeted with after a trip is a flooded basement.