IKO Community Management knows the impact of freezing weather on water pipes. To avoid bursting water pipes during this extremely cold winter IKO would like to share tips that may divert the devastating impact this could have on your home. Broken pipes are relatively minor in comparison to the major damage it can cause. Leaking water running through your walls and ceilings will cause major reconstruction projects such as replacing drywall, carpet, furniture and appliances. These tips should help to stop your cracking pipes from making a mess of your day!
- Inspect all plumbing supply pipes in your home. Determine which pipes may be vulnerable to freezing such as those pipes leading outdoors, pipes running through unheated crawlspaces or basements, and pipes along the inside exterior walls.
- Make sure the water supply to all outdoor spigots is turned off before the cold weather arrives. There is usually a shut-off valve on the pipe near where that pipe exits the home. After the water valve is off, go outside and open the water supply line. This will drain any water remaining in the pipe and spigot leaving nothing to freeze. If you should have water lines that are susceptible to freezing during extreme weather and you cannot get the shut-off valve to work, make a slow drip at your faucet to keep it flowing to prevent freezing pipes. The drip can be very slight. Even the slowest drip at normal pressure will provide pressure relief when needed.
- Wrap all pipes in areas vulnerable to a cold freeze. Fiberglass or foam pipe insulation, following the manufactures instructions should slow the transfer of heat or cold preventing pipes from freezing. Check pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls.
- Seal all air gaps in exterior walls. Inspect basement walls for any cracking. Caulking or expanding spray foam works best and can be purchased at any home improvement store. Any cold air flow contacting your pipes significantly decreases the effectiveness of the insulation. Check for holes in outside walls where television, cable or telephone lines enter your home.
- During extreme weather do not lower your thermostat when sleeping or not at home. Keeping the temperature constant will prevent your pipes from freezing overnight.
- Monitor your pipes. Usually pipes won’t leak until the ice starts to thaw. This is when cracks in pipes become evident. Did you know that hot water lines freeze before cold ones do?
Generally, houses in northern climates are built with the water pipes located on the inside of the building insulation, which protects the pipes from subfreezing weather. However, extremely cold weather and holes in the building that allow a flow of cold air to come into contact with pipes can lead to freezing and bursting. Un-insulated pipes can start to freeze at 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
If you suspect a frozen pipe, don’t take any chances. Call a plumber. Know where your main shut-off valve is for your home. Leave your valves open until repairs can be completed.
With the extreme winter weather of 2014 it is important to know how to prevent your water pipes from bursting. IKO Community Management hopes these tips will come in handy before trouble begins. Taking precautionary steps now will ensure your home will not end up a winter disaster.