A Freeze, a Thaw, and a Burst
A couple weeks ago, my clients house flooded. It was all very dramatic, and the flood victims include new white sneakers, world map, and printer (R.I.P.). And what was the culprit, you ask? A burst pipe. However, things aren’t all terrible. Because of this experience, I’ve gained a new respect for pipes which day in, day out, go unnoticed. Only when things go wrong do pipes get any respect. Today, with you as my witness, I hereby promise to always give pipes the care they deserve. And, to spare you the trauma of a household flood, I’m going to share ways to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter.
Follow this advice, and learn from others mistakes:
Step 1: Find the location of the main water shut-off valve in your house. If a pipe does burst, you don’t want to waste time trying to find it.
Step 2: Insulate vulnerable pipes. Pipes near outside walls (and attics, basements, and garages) are most prone to freezing. Insulate them with foam pipe covers, which are readily available in home improvement stores. Consider adding extra insulation to your attic and garage to prevent cold from seeping in. You don’t like being exposed to the cold, and your pipes feel the same way.
Step 3: Don’t touch the thermostat. Many of us love sleeping in the cold, and turning down the thermostat at night is a common way to lower your energy bill. However, for the love of your pipes, don’t do it! While you’re cozy in bed, your pipes may be freezing. If you love sleeping in the cold that much, sleep with some icepacks.
Step 4: Let it trickle. Let faucets near outside walls trickle water overnight to help prevent freezing. Similarly, open cabinets and cupboard doors to encourage warm air circulation.
If you turn on a tap and no water comes out, your pipes may be frozen. And what then, you ask? Sometimes, heating the pipe with a hair dryer or space heater will help thaw it. If you’re unsure, however, or if you feel out of your league, your best bet is to call a plumber.
With this knowledge, go out there and protect your pipes.