Winter weather has been taking its toll across the United States. Most states have not been spared from freezing temperatures, some lasting for days, even a week at a time. This kind of weather is normal in some areas, but others are not used to these freezing conditions. This extreme cold can pose hazards to peoples homes, especially their pipes. but there are a few things everyone can do to prepare for these subfreezing days and hopefully spare yourself hundreds, if not more, in plumbing bills.
In subfreezing temperatures, pipes that hold water are subject to freezing. The first step everyone can take to prevent pipes from freezing is to keep the water moving. A simple dripping pipe keeps the water in the line constantly moving making it much more difficult for it to freeze. Just a fast drip or slow trickle will do the trick. It is also a good idea to open the doors to all the cabinets that are home to pipes like under sinks, and keep the thermostat at a steady temperature during the day and night. This allows the warm air of the home into the cabinet to prevent the freeze from hitting the interior pipes, and at a steady temperature maintains that warmer temperature. It is also a good idea to keep garage doors closed in order to prevent freezing air from getting to hot water heaters or other pipes.
While those basic tips will usually do the trick, for those who will be experiencing more lengthy subfreezing temperatures or more extreme temperatures, it is always a good idea to consider winterizing your home. Any pipes that are exposed outside such as water intakes or outdoor water spouts should be wrapped in insulation. If you cannot get your hands on pipe insulation, newspaper can work in a pinch. For even better results, most hardware stores carry what is called self-regulating heat tape. This will keep the pipes warmer than usual and prevent freezing.
If you are unlucky enough to experience frozen pipes, there are some steps you can take to try to prevent damage to the water lines. Open all the faucets so that the extra pressure has somewhere to go. If you do experience a broken pipe, immediately shut off the main water to the home. Then you can consider weather it is a simple repair or if you need to call a plumber in for the job.
While none of us want to deal with frozen pipes, it happens across the nation each year. Prepare yourself and your home as much as possible and follow all these tips to try to avoid what can be an inconvenient and often costly situation. For more details, head to the Huffington Post.