Frozen pipes are a nightmare. Freezing and water damage account for over one in five homeowner insurance claims. The average claim is for $4,024 worth of damage. Pipes are the most prone to rupture when temperatures drop below freezing. Anytime the weather turns frosty, dropping below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or minus six degrees Celsius, water pipes are likely to freeze and break. To prevent frozen pipes from ruining your winter take these preventative measures:
Even if you apply each of the following preventative measures, there’s still the potential for pipes to freeze. As such, it’s always wise to have a temporary patch kit on hand in case of burst pipes. A temporary patch can save you from the damage and cost of water leaks until fairer weather makes home plumbing repairs possible.
All it takes is a one-eighth inch, or three millimeter, crack in leaking pipes to result in 250 gallons of water leaking per day. We’ll let you imagine the potential damage for 250 gallons of water spewing onto your floors, furniture, appliances, and personal items. While you’re thinking about it, take the time to locate your water shut-off valve. You may have seen it during your water heater installation. If you weren’t the homeowner at the time of your home’s water heater installation, you can usually find the shutoff valve in the basement.
Last but not least: Perhaps the most important preparation to take is determining which local plumbers are available and have the necessary equipment to handle frozen pipes. You can start by reaching out to the company who provided your water heater installation or search for “your city plumber” online. For instance, if you live in Bergen County, search Bergen County plumber. When you find a prospect, give them a call to confirm they’ll be ready and able to address your frozen pipes if and when the frost sets in.
- Heat things up
The next step to preventing frozen pipes is preventing your home from getting too cold. Old homes with little or no insulation are the most prone to frozen pipes. Keeping your thermostat turned up will help keep the crawlspaces around your pipes warmer as the heat seeps through your floors.
While it can be tempting to save money on your heating bill by keeping things cool, it’s not worth the risk of frozen and leaking pipes. Instead, think about your water bill and the cost of that leak. On average, a household leak causes 10,000 gallons of water to be wasted every. That’s 270 loads of laundry. Do yourself, your pipes, and your water bill a favor by keeping your home warm this winter.
Another way to keep at-risk pipes warm without making your home feel like a tropical paradise is with a space heat. You can place a space heater set on low heat near any unprotected pipes. Just be sure to follow proper safety measures when using the heater such as keeping it away from flammable materials and on the lowest setting. The goal isn’t to make your pipes warm, just to keep them from freezing.
During or after your water heater installation, consider adding insulation products such as pipe sleeves or UL-listed heat tape on any exposed pipes. Fiberglass is another great option for insulating poorly-shielded pipes. In large areas, foam board can be used to keep the heat in.
If it’s too late to take such preventative measures, newspaper can be used in a pinch to provide some insulation. As little as a quarter of an inch of newspaper wrapped around exposed pipes can offer surprising protection. Albeit, newspaper won’t stand up to areas with prolonged or frequent periods of temperatures below freezing.
Plumbing installation and repairs are not the most enjoyable part of being a homeowner. From your water heater installation to maintaining your pipes each winter, it’s important to take care of you plumbing system to prevent costly damage from leaking pipes. Use these tips to keep you and your pipes happy all winter long.