As winter sets in, plummeting temperatures can put home plumbing systems at risk. If water freezes inside your pipes, the ice could burst the pipe and cause a leak that does serious damage to your home and furnishings. Here are four useful plumbing maintenance tips you can use this winter to reduce the risk of pipes freezing in very cold weather.
1. Insulate Cold and Hot Water Pipes
Insulating pipes is a relatively straightforward task. All you need is some insulation foam and plumbing tape to hold it in place. You can find these materials at a local hardware store.
Wrap all pipes in your crawl spaces and basemet with insulation. This should help to protect them from the cold and reduce the risk of the water inside them freezing.
It is important to insulate both cold and hot water pipes, as the water inside hot water pipes can cool down quickly in winter. This puts the pipes at risk of freezing when you are not running the hot water taps in your home.
2. Eliminate Drafts
Insulating your home also helps to reduce the risk of pipes freezing in winter. Check crawlspaces, attics, basements, garages and cupboards that contain pipes for drafts. Seal up any places where cold air is seeping in from outside. Draft-proofing your doors and windows will also help to keep your home warmer and therefore protect your pipes.
3. Heat Your Home
Even if you only use part of your home, it is a good idea to heat the whole of it to prevent pipes from freezing. If you go away during winter, set the thermostat to a low level rather than turning the heating system off. If the weather turns very cold while you are away, the thermostat will turn on the heating to prevent your pipes from freezing; only keep the heating system turned off when the weather is warmer to save energy.
4. Turn on Taps When Temperatures Are Very Low
If your region experiences a period of very cold weather, turn on all the taps in your home so that a tiny trickle of water flows from each one. This helps to keep the water moving in your pipes. Moving water does not freeze as easily as still water, so you will be less likely to experience a frozen or burst pipe that requires you to call out an emergency plumber.