Frozen Pipes and How To Prevent Them
We all know water expands as it
freezes, but we often don’t take into consideration the amount of pressure it
can place on the container surrounding it, including metal and plastic
pipes. Regardless of the strength of the
container, expanding water can cause it to break. Obviously pipes and water lines exposed to
extreme cold, like hoses, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines
are most susceptible to freezing, but luckily those are usually outside of your
home or building. More of a concern
comes with pipes in unheated interior areas, like basements, crawl spaces,
attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets, as well as pipes that run against
exterior walls that have little or no insulation.
Preventing frozen pipes is critical to avoiding damage within
your home. Check around the home for
areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the
basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
You may want to consider installing
specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve"
or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or
similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of
insulation and protection to exposed pipes. Did you know…even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in
areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below
While you’re at it, remove, drain, and store hoses that are used
outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs and open the outside
hose bibs to allow water to drain. IMPORTANT: Keep the outside valve open
so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to
Frozen pipes that break can cause major
water damage to your home, business, garage, shed, and other structures. Taking preventative measures ahead of time
can save you a lot of time, money and headaches down the road.
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