Moving into an area that's prone to cold winters comes with a few unique challenges that you may not have ever dealt with before. For example, below-freezing temperatures bring the risk of frozen home plumbing. Although the pipes indoors aren't likely to freeze as long as you have heat, pipes that run outside or in areas with minimal insulation are vulnerable. Here are a few things you should know before your first winter so that you can be prepared.
Frozen Pipe Prevention
Before the cold weather sets in, you can take a few steps to keep the pipes from freezing. First, cover pipes in uninsulated or minimally insulated areas with some extra insulation material or some heat tape. The pipes to be most concerned about are the ones that run on outside walls or in unheated spaces like crawl spaces.
On nights when the forecast is particularly concerning, turn the water on. Let it run, even at a trickle, all night long. The water flowing through the pipes will discourage the pipes from freezing. If you have any areas of the house that you're especially concerned about, add a space heater in that area to reduce your risks.
Frozen Pipe Correction
If the pipes do freeze, you'll want to be proactive about dealing with the problem. Turn off the main water valve so that you can safely thaw the frozen pipes. Since water will expand as it freezes, it's important that you're attentive to any potential cracks or leaks in the pipes. Use a hair dryer or a heat lamp to provide indirect, gentle heat to the area. This will thaw the pipes out slowly so that you don't shock the system.
Sometimes you need to work with a plumber to do this because he or she can bring a heat gun to efficiently target the frozen sections of the pipe. In addition, a plumber can inspect the system and help you find any potentially damaged pipes or seals. This is important, because any damaged sections will need repiping to restore the integrity of your home's plumbing system.
Frozen pipes can be damaging to your home, especially when they cause leaks and water damage. That is what makes proactive preparations and timely response so important. Talk with a local plumber right away if you suspect that you have frozen pipes because any that need to be replaced will need to be done professionally. Companies like Clean Plumbers BY Phillip Maurici Plumbing Inc can help.