Do you have a property sitting vacant this winter? Learn how to protect pipes from freezing and avoid costly and unnecessary repairs.
Thousands, if not millions, of homes experience frozen pipes each winter. Not only are frozen pipes expensive to repair, you may incur expenses from repairing other damage caused by a burst water pipe.
In a matter of minutes a one-eighth inch crack can release 250 gallons of water, which can lead to damaged flooring, carpets, drywall damage, any number of things that will eat into your profit margin.
Sub-zero temperatures and cold winds can wreak havoc on your water pipes if they’re not protected. Make sure to prepare for that first frost to protect pipes from freezing.
Tips to Follow to Protect Pipes From Freezing:
Know where the main water shut off valve is to your home.
This will enable you to shut the water off to the house should one of the pipes freeze and burst. The quicker you can get the water shut off, the less damage will be done. This will also give you time to call a plumber for help if you need to.
Find out where all the water pipes are located in your home.
In most cases, they’ll be in a crawl space under the house or possibly in the attic. Once you’ve found exposed pipes, wrap them with insulation. The more protective insulation you can wrap around them, the less likely they are to freeze and burst.
Use thermostatically-controlled heat cables.
In extremely cold temperatures, wrap the cables around the insulation. Use according to manufacturer’s instructions for installation and be sure to only use heat cables which have been UL approved.
Seal up any leaks around the pipes.
This avoids letting cold air into the area where there are exposed pipes. This could mean checking around electrical wiring coming through walls, dryer vents and the pipes themselves.
Use flexible insulation, caulk or a can of expandable foam insulation. By blocking as much air as possible, you’ll lessen the chance of the pipes bursting.
Disconnect and remove any outdoor garden hoses.
They won’t be used during the winter, so turn off the valve to the spigot and drain all of the water from the faucet.
If you must leave a faucet active for any reason, remove the garden hose between uses. You can also put an insulated cap over the faucet to keep it from freezing.
When the temperatures are expected to get especially frigid, leave a trickle of hot and cold water running in at least one faucet on an outside wall. This may be just enough to avoid freezing pipes.
Allow cabinet doors with un-insulated pipes under it to remain open. This will allow the warm air from the house to heat the pipes and keep the pipes from freezing.
Lower the thermostat.
Keep the thermostat in the house set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit while the house is sitting empty. But be sure to check the pipes periodically to make sure none are freezing.
No one wants to experience a burst water pipe. Always protect pipes from freezing before the first frost and you’ll be well on your way to avoiding one.