With winter already knocking on our doors, frozen pipes are something that most of us are going to experience in the next couple of weeks. Although this is a pretty significant issue to deal with if you live in a colder area, there are still some steps that you can take in order to fix your burst pipes or prevent this from happening in the first place.
In this article, we are going to point out some of the best ways to protect yourself from a situation like this, so if you think that you might be experiencing a scenario of this kind in the upcoming winter, make sure that you read until the end. Let’s take a look.
Why do pipes freeze during winter?
Obviously, the answer is because of the extremely low temperatures. However, not many people are aware of what actually is going on when someone says “my pipes froze”.
The truth is, it is not your pipes that are freezing, but the water inside them, and this creates a much larger problem by creating a pressure that cannot be handled by the pipes, so they simply burst. When sometimes like this happens, the damages can be pretty scary, so it is best to avoid this instead of repair the problem after it happens.
However, sometimes we cannot avoid what was supposed to happen, so it is smart to have a solution for this as well, even though you should put in a lot more effort in order to prevent it from happening. Here’s what you can do.
Completely shutting off the water
If you are certain that the next couple of days or weeks will be extremely cold, it is much better to completely shut off the water in all of the pipes that are coming from the outside. There are numerous solutions to supply water during those couple of days, and it is much better to do that instead of letting the pipes burst and then spend a lot of money in order to fix the problem.
Make sure that you drain all of them first or you’ll be doing this for nothing since the remaining water can still freeze.
Leave a faucet dripping to prevent cracks
It is pretty common advice to leave your faucets with just a little bit of dripping water in them, simply because this reduces the chances of a complete deep-freeze. It will also help you a lot in terms of preventing the buildup of pressure that can potentially burst your pipes and cause a huge problem.
Reinforce your pipes
Now, some pipes are outside of your home and they are exposed to the harshest circumstances, meaning there isn’t much that you can do about them, but for the ones on the inside, however, there are a few ways to reinforce them.
Obviously, in order to prevent freezing, you’ll need to increase the temperature of the pipes. To do this, you can use foam. Simply wrap all of your indoor pipes with foam and this will create insulation that can greatly reduce the chances of a freeze. Or, if you really want to take things to the next level, you can use a heat tape, which is an even more efficient method. If none of these methods seem to work, or you are not sure how to take these steps due to the lack of experience, you can read more on this website.
Heat up your place
This is something that doesn’t really seem very economic, but when you think of it, paying hundreds of dollars for new pipes is also not economic at all. When you’re leaving your home, you can leave the heating on as well, or if you are using portable heating panels, you can take one and place it in the same room where your indoor pipes are. This will ensure that no water inside your pipes is going to freeze.
One thing that many recommend is to leave your heating on when going on a winter holiday, but this already rings a lot of fire alarm sounds to you, right? True, it’s a huge fire-hazard to leave your panels on while you’re out for an entire week, but if you have someone to regularly check up on your home, you might be able to combine something.
But, my pipes still somehow managed to freeze?
Yes, sometimes bad things happen, and even if you’ve given your best to prevent them, “evil” still managed to find its way to the goal. Worry not, there are numerous things that you can do.
If you turn on your water, let’s say in your kitchen for example, and you notice that you’re either getting a small drip or nothing at all, it means that you probably have a frozen pipe somewhere. Cut off the water completely and go look through your pipes. If you notice that one of them is extremely cold and even looking pretty frosty, that’s where your problem is.
Now it is time to fix the problem, and you can do this by either using a hair-dryer or any other source of heat. Don’t burn the pipe with a lighter though. Either use a portable heating panel and place it really close to the pipe or take a hair-dryer which will probably be slower but easier to do. Warm the pipe until all of the ice inside melts.
Then, you can turn on the water but just slightly, so that it melts the remaining ice if there’s still something there. After this, you should be fine with using water at normal pressure.
What if my pipes burst?
This is the type of a problem that usually requires professional assistance, so the only thing that you can do from your side is to completely turn off the water to prevent a flood in your home, and then wait until the team of professionals arrives on the field. You cannot really replace these pipes on your own without the necessary tools and gear, so instead of causing a bigger problem or even worse, injuring yourself, leave it to the ones who know what they’re doing.