It’s that time of year again. The cold weather is settling in around the Nanaimo area, and with it comes a higher risk of frozen pipes, one of the biggest threats to your home during winter. As water freezes, it expands. This expansion can put a lot of pressure on pipes, causing them to crack or burst and cause serious damage to your home. However, there are some steps that you can take to help prevent your plumbing from freezing this winter.
1. Wrap Exposed Pipes With Insulation
Insulating pipes is one of the best ways to prevent them from freezing in the winter. You can do this with pre-slit foam pipe insulation or by wrapping them in electrical heating tape. You’ll want to ensure that any exposed pipes are well-insulated before the start of winter. You can purchase pre-made pipe insulation at most hardware stores or make your own by wrapping your pipes in newspaper or towels. Be sure to seal any cracks or gaps around your pipes with caulk or another sealant to prevent cold air from seeping in.
2. Keep Your Cabinet Doors Open
This may seem counterintuitive, but by circulating warm air from your home around your pipes, you can help to prevent them from becoming too cold and developing ice crystals.
3. Let Your Faucets Drip
During periods of very cold weather, let your faucets drip slightly. Be sure to open all the faucets in your home, both hot and cold. By running a small stream of water through your pipes, you can help to prevent the water in your pipes from freezing and causing them to burst. While you may notice a minor increase in your water bill, letting your faucets drip during the coldest winter days can save you a lot of money in the long run as the damage that a burst pipe can cause may be extensive.
4. Disconnect Garden Hoses
Disconnect any garden hoses from outdoor faucets before the season’s first frost. Once disconnected, drain the water from the hoses and store them indoors for the winter. If you leave garden hoses connected, the water in them can freeze and cause the hose or faucet to burst when it thaws.
5. Keep Your House Warm
As the temperature outside begins to drop, you may be tempted to turn down your thermostat at night to save on heating costs. However, this can put your home at risk of frozen pipes. Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature day and night to avoid sudden fluctuations, even when you’re not home. Set your thermostat to at least 20 degrees Celsius, and make sure that any unheated areas of your home, such as attics or crawl spaces, are properly insulated.
If you have a fireplace, keep a fire going during particularly cold weather. If you’re going away for an extended period, consider turning your thermostat down a few degrees, but no lower than 15 degrees, to help prevent any issues while you’re gone. These simple precautions can help you avoid expensive repairs and the hassle of dealing with frozen pipes.
6. Seal Drafty Areas
Seal any cracks or gaps around doors and windows to prevent cold air from entering your home and causing your pipes to freeze. You can use caulk, weatherstripping, or another type of sealant. You can also use door snakes or draft stoppers to fill any gaps at the bottom of doors.
7. Drain Your Water Heater
Draining your water heater before you go on vacation can also help prevent frozen pipes since there won’t be any water inside the tank that could potentially freeze and cause the tank itself to crack open. If draining the water heater isn’t practical, it’s a good idea to use the hot water as much as you can while the weather is especially cold because cycling the water out will prevent it from freezing inside your tank. You can also ask your Nanaimo, BC plumber if installing freeze protection solenoid valves is a good idea for your water heater.
Consult the Experts
Taking these simple precautions can go a long way in preventing your pipes from freezing this winter. However, if you do end up with frozen pipes, Twin Peaks Plumbing, Heating & Gas is here to help. We’re experts in thawing out frozen pipes and getting your water flowing again. We also specialize in offering comprehensive plumbing, heating, cooling, water heaters and gas services to residents of Nanaimo and the surrounding areas. Consult us for more information on preventing your pipes from freezing or if you would like to schedule your annual maintenance appointment.