Frozen pipes can inflict serious damage on your home. Even the smallest crack can unleash 250 gallons of water every day, leaving flooding, water damage and structural damage in its wake.
When it comes to winterizing your home this winter, preparing your pipes for the winter season should be one of your foremost priorities.
What Causes Frozen Pipes?
There are three primary causes of frozen pipes:
- Quick drops in temperature (that’s why it’s important to begin protecting your pipes even before the cold weather sets in)
- Bad insulation
- Thermostats that are set to low
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter
Insulate Pipes In Unheated Areas Of Your Home
When it comes to preventing frozen pipes, the first step is to always insulate the pipes in your home that are both exposed or in unheated areas of your home, whether in your attic, crawlspace or basement.
There are any number of ways you go about insulating your pipes, but heat tape is often one of the most recommended.
However, it’s imperative that you follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully. Some tape can pose a safety risk because they can overheat.
Disconnect Your Garden Hoses
The next step is to disconnect any garden hoses. Connected hoses are actually a leading reason why pipes freeze in the first place. You can also use an indoor valve to shut off and drain the water that goes toward any outdoor faucets.
Do Not Lower Your Thermostat Below 55F/12C
It’s a good idea to get into the habit of not turning down your thermostat during the winter months. Simply keep your thermostat at the same temperature both day and night. Keep in mind that your thermostat should never be set lower than 55F/12C.
Seal/Insulate Any Air Leaks and Vents
It is also important to seal any air leaks both inside and outside of your home. Even the slightest bit of very cold air can cause pipes to freeze. Seal any air leaks accordingly and also insulate any vents, like dryer vents and crawl space vents as well.
Prepare Your Pipes If You Go On Vacation
If you are leaving to go on a winter vacation, it’s also important to ensure that you take steps to adequately protect your pipes. This includes not setting the thermostat any lower than mentioned above. You should also shut off and drain the water system.
It is also a good idea to open up any cupboards if you have pipes under any sinks. This will ensure that your pipes are exposed to some of the warm air.