When the thermometer dips below 20 degrees in the winter, your home’s water pipes can freeze and rupture. Not only do frozen pipes cause a plumbing emergency if they burst, a rupture can leave you facing a dreadful mess, significant water damage and expensive home repairs.
Why Frozen Pipes Rupture and How to Prevent it
As water freezes inside a pipe and expands into ice, it pushes any remaining water toward the faucet where a pressure buildup can cause a rupture. Outdoor water pipes and indoor lines located in areas where they’re exposed to frigid temperatures are more likely to freeze. You can avoid the headaches and expense of dealing with a ruptured water line this winter by taking the following precautions to protect vulnerable pipes:
- Use caulk or expandable foam insulation to seal up any holes, gaps and cracks in your home’s exterior shell to keep frigid air out.
- Insulate any water lines running through an unheated attic, garage or basement using inexpensive polyethylene pipe sleeves. Cut and fit these sleeves over the hot and cold water lines beneath your sinks as well.
- Wrap any accessible pipes in your exterior walls with UL-listed heat cable, then install insulating sleeves.
- Open your outdoor faucet to drain the line, and leave it open so pressure doesn’t build up. For extra protection, cover the spigot with a prefabricated foam insulator.
- If you have a swimming pool or sprinkler system, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to drain the lines, but don’t add anti-freeze unless it’s recommended.
When extremely cold temperatures are forecast, take these extra precautions:
- Open all your sink cabinet doors to keep air circulating around the water supply lines.
- Open up the faucets slightly on at-risk water lines to prevent pressure buildups.
- Leave the thermostat set at your normal daytime temperature instead of dialing it back at night to save energy.
- If you have any water pipes running through the garage, make sure the door stays closed.
For more advice about how to avoid frozen pipes in your Indianapolis area home this winter, contact us at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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