In the Twin Cities, frozen plumbing is far from uncommon. When temperatures dip into the single digits or below, your pipes can freeze in a matter of hours. And in a worst-case scenario, they can burst and cause extensive water damage. That’s why it’s so important to prepare your plumbing to withstand sub-freezing temperatures.
If you haven’t yet taken measures to protect your property’s plumbing, there’s no time like the present. Not sure how to get the job done? The experts at Kiser Construction share eight valuable tips for preventing frozen pipes and plumbing leaks below.
1) Leave the Heat On
If you’re taking a winter vacation, now is not the time to try to save on your utility bills. Keeping the heat on in your property will help ensure the water inside your plumbing doesn’t freeze and expand.
Though it might be tempting to turn down the thermostat to save a few bucks, it isn’t worth the risk of a burst pipe and extensive water damage. Should you return home to a flood, the cost of water damage cleanup will far outweigh what you might have paid in utility bills while you were gone.
2) Open Interior Doors
One of the easiest ways to help prevent frozen pipes and water damage is to keep warm air circulating evenly throughout your home or building. Keep your bedroom doors open and your bathroom doors, too, whenever possible.
It’s also a good idea to keep your closet, pantry, and storage room doors open to allow for even heat distribution throughout your property. Since pipes are frequently located inside cabinets, try to keep your cabinet doors open whenever possible to expose your plumbing to warm air.
3) Leave Your Cabinets Open
Many homes have pipes inside their cupboards and cabinets. In most cases, these areas won't get as much heat as the rest of the spaces in the house. And because water shut-off valves are typically found under the sinks in the bathroom and kitchen, keeping the cabinet doors open is recommended. Open cabinets allow warm air into the space and prevent the hoses, pipes, and valves from freezing and bursting.
4) Disconnect the Outside Hose from the Faucet
Your exterior hose can also cause issues with the house's coupling in the winter. Even if you have a frost-free spigot, remove the hose because it can risk the pipes freezing and bursting. Once the garden hose is removed, take some extra steps to ensure that the exposed plumbing is safe from freezing temperatures:
● Completely drain the outdoor faucet
● Add an insulated faucet jacket to the plumbing
● Initiate the shut-off valve to ensure water does not get to the exposed pipe
5) Seal any Holes or Cracks Around Piping Areas
Small openings or cracks are invitations for heat to escape from the house, resulting in cold air, which can cool down your pipes, especially those near a wall. Before the temperatures drastically fall, complete an inspection and look for any cracks, especially where electrical cords or pipes come in and out of the house, and ensure they are completely sealed.
6) Have an Inspection
One of the main benefits of having an inspection is that the professionals will identify potential problem areas like leaks or build-ups. They can also help detect issues and take the guesswork out of whether your pipes are at risk. And they will let you know if your plumbing needs to be updated, which can reduce the chances of a burst pipe emergency in the middle of winter.
7) Let Your Faucets Drip
If you’re worried about frozen pipes, try opening your faucets just enough so that they drip slightly. Keeping your faucets open just a tad helps relieve pressure inside the plumbing system, so if a pipe does freeze, the water won’t expand to the point of bursting it.
If your faucets feature both hot and cold water handles, make sure you open both taps slightly. If you have faucets that feature a single handle (like the kitchen sink type), turn the faucet slightly to the warm side and open it just a tad.
8) Add Insulation to Your Plumbing
Most buildings have pipes located in areas without adequate insulation, such as in basements, crawl spaces, and attics. If your plumbing runs through any of these areas, it’s never a bad idea to wrap the pipes with insulation to help prevent them from freezing. You can use:
● Foam rubber sleeves
● Fiberglass sleeves
● Self-seal rubber insulation
● Foam padding and heavy-duty tape
It’s important to note that although pipe insulation does provide additional protection against burst pipes and water damage, prolonged sub-zero temperatures can still cause your pipes to freeze.
For more robust protection, consider applying heating tape or cables to any pipes located in areas without adequate insulation. In the Twin Cities, where temperatures can remain below zero for days on end, added precaution is never a bad idea.
Dealing With Water Damage in the Twin Cities? Contact Kiser Construction
If your home or building has been the victim of a burst pipe or other form of water damage, get in touch with Kiser Construction right away. We specialize in comprehensive water damage cleanup and restoration and can work with your insurance company to help you get coverage. To get started, call our Elk River, MN office today at 763-633-2010 or send us a message.
If your property has suffered a flood, fire, or storm damage and you need immediate cleanup service, please call our 24/7 emergency line now at 612-518-8852.