Washington residents know that our colder winter months make the pipes outside of our homes vulnerable to freezing. Once the temperature drops outside you’ve got to be prepared to prevent frozen pipes inside.
Water expands as it freezes, putting tremendous pressure, stress, and strain on whatever is containing it, including metal and plastic pipes. No matter the “strength” of your plumbing system, expanding water can cause pipes to crack, leak, or worse – break and burst.
Pipes at the greatest risk of freezing are those that are exposed to severe cold like outdoor hoses, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and pipes in unheated areas like basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
The good news is that you can prevent freezing pipes, water damage, and the costly repairs that go with them! To prevent this from happening to you, FloHawks has a few tips to keep your water flowing this winter.
- Know Your System.
Every residential plumbing system is different – knowing how yours is set up will save you headaches down the road. Do you know where your main water shutoff valve is located? If you experience burst pipes, shutoff the main water valve immediately to minimize the damage. Do you have pipes in an attic? Does your home have a crawl space? If so, you may need to take extra precautions to insulate your pipes from the cold.
- Keep Your Pipes Warm
Subfreezing temps are widely unpleasant for almost everything, including your plumbing. Consider protecting them from the elements by wrapping or insulating your pipes, particularly those near outside walls, under the house, or in the attic. You can use a variety of items available at your local hardware store. Options include pipe sleeves, heat tape, heat reflector lamps, and heating cables. We would like to remind you to never use open flame devices such as a blowtorch, kerosene, or propane heater!
- Let the Heat In
You can also let the heat in by opening up the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under your sinks to allow the warmer air in your home to circulate around the plumbing. Since these are areas commonly used for storage of cleaning products, FloHawks would like to remind you to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- Turn your water off if going out of town
If you are traveling for the holidays or will be away from home for a few days, you can avoid frozen pipes by shutting off the main water valve and draining the water in the pipes before you leave. While you are away, keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature to make sure all areas in your home are kept above freezing.
- Keep an Eye on the Water Pressure
Inconsistent water pressure can be a sign of an existing plumbing problem and might mean that your pipes are more at risk to have freezing problems. Keep an eye on your water pressure to ensure that your pipes are safe and sound. When frozen pipes burst, there is a splashing, hissing, or a thumping noise. There may be an accompanying odor caused by the water damage. If you wake up after a cold night and nothing is coming out of your faucet, call a professional plumbing expert like FloHawks immediately.