It’s a new year, but that doesn’t mean the cold weather is gone! In fact, here in the Raleigh area, winter is just getting started. Here are a few tips for avoiding frozen pipes this winter:
How frozen pipes happen
First off, it helps to know from a scientific standpoint exactly how and when frozen pipes happen. As you probably already know, water expands when it freezes. That’s not just a handy fact for those of us who enjoy some nice ice in our drinks from time to time. When water freezes, it pushes against the sides of its container – and if that container is a pipe connected to your home’s plumbing system, then you have a serious problem on your hands. However, you might be surprised to know that the pipe usually doesn’t burst at this point! Instead, the expanding ice and the freezing pipe cause water pressure to increase in a different area of the pipe, where there is no ice. This increased pressure build-up elsewhere that is caused by the ice blockage is what ultimately causes your pipe to burst!
How to prevent frozen pipes
Of course, the end goal is still the same: preventing frozen pipes, to prevent burst pipes!
There are a lot of things you can do to try and prevent them, though. If the temperature falls below 20 degrees, for example, you can leave faucets dripping just a little bit to prevent freezing. (You know that water freezes at 32 degrees, true, but water in your pipes can’t logistically freeze at that temperature.) You can also open cabinets under sinks to allow more heat in, and you can even install pipe insulation if you’re feeling especially proactive.
You also want to make sure that any exposed pipes in unheated areas of your home are sealed off and insulated. Areas like garages or crawlspaces are prime targets for this kind of issue!
Another course of action is to use heat tape on your pipes, but be strategic about where you do so. It isn’t necessary on interior pipes, such as for bathrooms and kitchens; leaving the cabinet doors open should be sufficient there. But heat tapes or heat cables are great to install on drainpipes, hot water supply lines, sump pump drain lines, and through attics, garages, and crawlspaces.
Call Weather Master when you need a plumber
No matter what course of action you take, though, remember that preventing frozen pipes requires vigilance on your part throughout the entire winter season! However, if you need plumbing repairs or even just an inspection to make sure everything is in order, be sure to call on your local Raleigh plumber here at Weather Master. We want to help! Schedule an appointment online or call now: (919) 853-7910