You may be great at handling pressure. Have you thought about how your pipes are handling it this winter?
Damages caused by frozen water pipes go way beyond the cost of the plumbing repair and cleaning up the water. It’s possible to cost tens of thousands of dollars. This is one domino reaction you want to avoid, and here’s why.
Flooding can happen within minutes. Unless the water is cleaned up almost immediately (usually within 24 hours), your home is at risk for mold.
Mold damage may not be evident for months. Like anything, the longer you wait, the bigger the problem and associated costs for remediation may be.
Depending on the type of home insurance you have, your insurance company may cancel your coverage after the water leak. This cancellation may affect your ability to obtain homeowners coverage in the future.
It’s clear that preventing home water pipes from freezing in the first place is the best answer.
So how do you do it?
Learn the Basics of How Your Home Plumbing System Works
Know where your main water valve is and how it works. Find out if there are any other water shut-off valves. At a minimum, you want to know where everything related to turning off the water is and how to turn it all on and off.
This is especially important to know ahead of time in case anything might obstruct your view of it. The knowledge you gain during this exercise may rethink your storage plan. Sometimes main water valves are underneath the stairwell in split-entry homes. You’ll want to make sure everyone in the family understands how to turn the water off and on at its source.
Figure Out Where Your Home Water Pipes are Located
There’s a potential problem whenever there’s a pipe on an outside wall. The truth is there are a lot of pipes on outside walls, or in attics, crawlspaces, or ceilings with the capacity to cause trouble.
While freezing water pipes may be more common in older homes, it’s more of an art than a science to figure out what causes them. There are many things that can contribute to the probability including the amount and type of insulation, vapor barrier, which side of the house the pipe is on, general temperature conditions inside and outside at the time of freezing, etc.
Learn to Work with Your Home’s Water Pipe Personality
Each home has its particular quirks, and it is up to you as the homeowner to understand them, kind of like you know your kids and what needs to be done “when.” If you don’t have time to deal with this, you may want to consult a professional.
If you find any gaps in your home where cold air comes in and contacts pipes seal them. Depending on how strong the wind is, the tiniest opening can allow enough air in to freeze a pipe.
Check around windows, dryer vents, wall-facing sinks, stove-top water spigots on walls, and by cabling. While it’s also a good idea to drain all standard outside water spigots, if you have a frost-free faucet it may not be necessary. We prefer to err on the side of safety, though.
When temperatures are expected to drop, there are a variety of things that you may need to do to keep the pipes warm. This could involve heaters, opening or closing doors, sealing things up, or turning up the heat in the house.
Learning about your home’s water system and taking the time to investigate potential problem areas may save you untold expenses and heartache. Call us if we can answer any questions for you.