Along with the changing of the seasons comes changes for your home’s plumbing maintenance concerns. During the winter, things get a little dubious as two dynamics come together. Families tend to spend more time indoors, which means greater water usage. This puts an extra load on pipes, drains, and water heaters. Secondly, Minnesota’s sub-freezing temperatures means pipes and appliances that use water are at risk of freezing and/or damage. This puts your home at risk of water damage.
Frozen Pipes: A Plumbing Maintenance Issue
Every winter, frozen pipes are a plumbing maintenance concern here in the Twin Cities Metro area. And, this concern is justified as scores of households experience property damage each year when water inside pipes freezes, expands, and pressurizes pipes which cause the pipes to rupture leading to home flooding.
A tiny ⅛-inch crack in a water line can become a catastrophe that inundates a home with hundreds of gallons of water per day.
So, it’s just good common sense to prepare your home’s plumbing, or have a plumbing professional do it for you, to prevent cracked pipes and flooding in the home.
Preventing Heat Loss In Water
There are two effective ways to help prevent heat loss in water as it enters your home. Just like insulation, such as attic insulation, helps keep your home warmer and more comfortable, pipe insulation will help reduce heat loss and prevent freezing.
You’ll need to do a thorough inspection and search of your home to identify all water lines, hot and cold, that run through your home. This includes areas like crawl spaces, basements, garages, and your attic. It also includes pipes located beneath sinks, such as in your kitchen and bathrooms. Use pipe insulation sleeves or tape to wrap all the water pipes to help keep temperatures in the lines above the freezing mark.
For pipes in areas especially prone to freezing, such as unheated basements and garages, it’s wise to also install heat cables or heat tape to pipes. This ensures pipes in these particularly cold areas won’t freeze.
Allow For Expansion Inside Pipes
Many people are under the assumption that it is the expanding freezing water, the ice, that makes pipes crack and rupture. This may be true in some instances, but pipes actually rupture due to pressure buildup. That’s the reason that opening faucets tremendously helps prevent cracked pipes.
As the water inside the pipe freezes, air is allowed to escape through the open faucet, rather than causing a pressure buildup that eventually cracks the pipe. That’s why it’s important to open all faucets in a home to just a trickle, which allows air movement as well.
If your home is going to be unattended, such as going out of town or perhaps you are selling your home, the best way to prevent water pipes from rupturing is to turn off the main water valve to the home. Additionally, open the faucets inside to allow all the water to drain out.
Take the cold weather seriously and protect your homes. If you need help preparing your home or appliances for cold weather, contact us or give us a call at MN Plumbing & Home Services. We’re here to help!