When the winter season arrives, it brings snow, ice and frigid temperatures. That can be hard enough to deal with. What can make your life harder, is, if the bitter temperatures freeze a water pipe in your home. Frozen water in your home’s pipes and drains can be more than just a bother. The ice inside the pipes can reduce or stop the flow of water, but it can also cause them to split or crack. If enough pressure builds up inside the pipes, they can actually burst too. The water will then be running freely, and it can flood your basement or another area of your home. To avoid these problems during the cold weather months, you need to know how to help prevent frozen water pipes in your home.
As the old saying goes, “Prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There are many ways you can help to prevent the water pipes in your home from freezing. Like wrapping the hot and cold water pipes with electrical heating tape. Then, when you plug the tape into an electrical outlet, the heat that’s produced can help keep your water pipes from freezing up.
There are two problems with using electrical tape: 1) If the electricity goes out, the tape will be useless. And, 2) The water pipes in your home that are the most prone to becoming frozen are the ones located in unheated spots, such as inside exterior walls. These pipes can’t be reached, so applying electrical tape to them just isn’t an option.
You can also insulate the water pipes, as long as you can reach them. Just be sure that you choose a good-quality insulation. The most common pipe insulation is sold in rolls. It wraps around the water pipes in your home to keep them from freezing. You may also choose to use an insulation that’s made of foam. This dark gray insulation is sold in bags of short lengths. It’s thick and round, and has an opening up the middle of each length. To use this type of insulation, you simply slide it over the pipes. To cut either type of insulation, all you need is a sharp pocket knife or a pair of scissors.
Another effective way to help prevent frozen water pipes is to check your basement and the crawl spaces in your home before the winter temperatures hit. Look for holes and cracks that can let cold air leak in, especially where there are water pipes nearby. Seal these openings up to help reduce the amount of cold air that can enter into your home.
And finally, a simple method to help prevent frozen water pipes in your home- at least some of them- is to open up all of the water faucets. Whenever you know that the temperature is going to drop down to the freezing point, turn each faucet on so the water drips very slowly. I’ve done myself this for years, and have never been disappointed by this method of prevention yet.