It’s no mystery in the winter: the main culprit of bursting pipes is frozen water. Namely, how frozen water blocks the normal flow of liquid through the pipes, causing backup and pressure to build. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not expanding ice that actually makes a pipe finally burst: it’s the remaining liquid water finding nowhere else to go but out. Using this knowledge, there’s a few simple tips you can follow now to prevent any watery disasters in the future.
1. Ensure your pipes are insulated. Sure, homes in the north are often equipped with well-insulated pipes. But regardless of latitude, homes throughout the Midwest, especially farther south, should ensure their pipes are properly insulated—especially in vulnerable areas such as attics, crawlspaces and outside walls. If this year’s frigid cold has taught us anything, it’s this: where the cold is less commonplace, so is preparation. So don’t be a victim: avoid costly emergencies by adopting a mindset of better safe than sorry. For advice on insulation, you can always contact a construction contractor.
2. Seal those seams. To keep cold wind away from your pipes, seal cracks and holes in your walls with caulking. Simply walk along the walls of your house and feel for drafts. And for fainter drafts, light an incense stick. When the smoke is offset, there’s a draft.
3. Some doors are best left open. Did you know? Kitchen and bathroom cabinets can keep warm inside air from reaching pipes under sinks or in adjacent outside walls. It’s a good idea to keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to let warm air circulate around the pipes and prevent freezing.
4. Unfasten your hose. If a hose is hooked up to your backyard or the side of your house, remove it and shut off the valve that leads to your outdoor hose. By shutting off your valve and ensuring all water has dripped out, it removes the risk of a freeze.
5. Don’t hesitate to use your taps. As long as water is running and pressure doesn’t build up, there’s a far lower risk of freeze and pipes bursting. Also, it’s okay to let faucets lightly drip where you believe there could be risk of cold pipes. The slight relief in pressure prevents potential buildup within your pipes.
6. Leaving for a trip? Don’t over-lower the heat. While understandably it saves money to lower your thermostat when you’re away from home, it’s important to not be overzealous and allow your home to cool excessively in your absence. A home kept reasonably warm will ensure pipes share the same cozy condition.
Aside from the obvious pipe burst, a telltale symptom of winter creeping into your infrastructure is lowered water pressure—or worse, no water activity whatsoever when you twist your faucet on. While this requires immediate professional assistance, you can also call a professional ahead of time for additional precautionary tips on how to prevent this worst case scenario.
For the best repair and restoration in the instance of water damage and other incidents, contact a certified construction contractor serving homes and businesses since 1987.
402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com