Prevent Frozen Pipes

04/11/13 8:40 AM

frozen pipeDid you know that water expands when frozen?  Yup.  If it didn’t, then a frozen pipe wouldn’t be such a big deal.  As it is, something has to give and that’s usually the pipe.  Then the water finds the new opening and, let’s face it, that hole is never going to be in a place you want to get wet.

It’s really easy to avoid frozen pipes.

Start from the outside in.  At some point, you will no longer need your garden hose to water plants or wash the car.  Disconnect the hose and, if you have a valve inside the house, shut off the water to the outdoor spout.  If not, you can call a professional plumber like Classic Plumbing by Reno to install a valve or get an exterior, insulated faucet jacket to protect the spigot from freezing temperatures.

Do yourself another favor while you’re at this little chore.  Drain the hose and, if possible, store it indoors.  Water can freeze in a hose and ruin it, just as it can ruin copper pipes.

Take a moment to follow your pipes from the source, which is either going to be a meter from the public water supply or your well tank.  If the pipes run near the outside of the house, or under a crawl space, consider putting some insulation between the pipe and the outside space to protect the pipes from cold air.  This won’t hurt anything and, if you do the job well, you will probably cut your heating bill by a few dollars, too.

Keep warm air circulating inside the house.  If you plan on leaving for the winter, make sure you set the thermostat above 55 degrees.  While it is possible to drain pipes and put some antifreeze in a toilet when you shut off all heat and power to a house, remember that most plumbing systems are not designed for such an operation.  There can be angles that allow water to settle, where it can freeze.  Call a professional for help in this case; the cost will be minimal compared to coming home to a house that’s been wet for weeks or months.

If there is a particularly cold night predicted, you can open the taps to allow water to flow.  A stream about the size of a pencil will work because moving water will not freeze.

These tips should keep your pipes safe from harm but, always pay attention!  If you notice a drop in water pressure, it might be a good idea to call Classic Plumbing by Reno because that might be the first sign of a frozen pipe.

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