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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 freezing.

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 break.

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.

If you need help with any topics related to this article, please feel free to give us a call!  We’re here to help!

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