How to Prevent Burst Pipes This Winter
As winter months bring snow and cold to our Appleton, WI community, many of us are scrambling to pull out warm sweaters, get firewood, and check our furnaces. But there is one job that many of us have neglected during our preparations for the long winter months: preventing burst pipes. Surprisingly, this happens to many Fox Valley homeowners. Burst pipes can be an expensive plumbing emergency in Appleton, WI, which is why our plumbers are sharing how to prevent burst pipes this winter in the article below.
Why Pipes Freeze
How are do plumbing pipes freeze? When it’s cold, the accumulated water inside the pipes freezes and expands, which creates extreme pressure. Eventually, the ice causes enough pressure to break the pipes. Fox valley plumbers explain that this is where the issues really begin. Research shows that a one-eighth-of-a-inch crack in a plumbing pipe can deliver up to 250 gallons of water a day! This amount of water can cause significant structural and property damage.
What would you do to avoid freezing and bursting pipes in your home? Here are seven tips to keep your pipes safe during the winter cold:
Pipes Must be Insulated
The exposed pipe is vulnerable to freezing, even in warmer climates. There is a range of ways to keep the pipes as snug as a bug in a blanket. One way is to apply insulation to the pipes throughout the building. Almost every home improvement store has foam insulation available for purchase. Simply wrap the foam around the tubing to shield it from cold temperatures.
Other choices for keeping your pipes warm include covering them with heat tape or using thermostatically operated heat cables. Make sure you use products approved by your Fox Valley plumber to ensure the highest standards of quality and safety.
Let Your Faucet Drip
Most people see a leaking hawk as a matter that needs to be resolved. However, in the winter months, it’s actually a smart idea to let your hawk drip just a little. A little bit of water flow keeps the pressure in the pipes low. Low pressure means less of a risk that those pipes could break!
Seal the Cracks and Leaks
Caulk is our favorite this time of year. You want to keep as much cold air out as you can. Have a careful inspection of your house to determine if there is any air leakage. Places to look at include nearby dryer vents, walls, electrical wiring, and of course, pipes.
When you’ve found them, the regular caulk gun and caulk should do the trick of sealing the leaks and keeping the chill-out.
If you’re home or out of town, the American Red Cross suggests leaving the interior doors of your home open. This makes it possible for the heat to flow into the house more effectively. It also allows the heat to get closer to the pipes, minimizing the chance of freezing them.
Keep Garage Door Closed
While you want to leave those interior doors open to allow free heat to circulate throughout the building, you can keep your garage door closed. This is particularly true if you have pipes running through your garage. Again, you want to keep the cold air out of your walls and pipes as much as you can. Shutting the garage door will help to give you an extra layer of security.
Control the Thermostat
If you’re leaving town, be sure to keep your heat at no less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, it’s hard to think of paying to keep the heat on when you’re not at home. However, in the long run, you’ll save money by keeping your house warm and stopping blowing pipes. Our friends at McQuillan Bros, a plumbing company in Woodbury, MN, adds that water damage could cost you a couple of thousand dollars in costs repairs. And that’s a lot more than a few extra bucks that could cost your heating bill.
Disconnect/Shut off The Water
Another tip if you’re out of town for a while: consider turning off your main water line and exhausting your water supply. This would leave your pipes empty in the building so that no water will freeze within them and cause a rupture.
But as Fox Valley plumbers point out, if you have a fire safety device, this might not be a good idea. Shutting off the water main means that the fire system won’t work. If shutting down your water main doesn’t seem to be a good idea at least detach all the outer water hoses. Water in these hoses will freeze back to your house. You can always contact our plumbers at Tureks Plumbing. Our team will assist you with all your residential plumbing needs. Not to mention we provide 24/7 plumbing services in Appleton, WI.