As we say goodbye to 2020, it is important to remember the following 6 steps to winterize pipes at your home or business. Although you may believe that pipes only burst at the point where water freezes, but pipes actually burst at the point between the freeze and a closed faucet. When pressure builds due to ice blockage, it has nowhere to go but through the pipe walls, which leads to extensive water damage. By winterizing your home or preparing it for the winter season, you are able to stop frozen pipes before they happen and prevent expensive water damage by properly insulating the pipes in your home!
Winterize Pipes in 6 Steps:
1. Winterize Pipes: Pipe Insulation
Pipes are more prone to freezing damage when temperatures drop below 20 degrees. Having insulation is your first line of defense against cold temperatures and frozen pipes. Take it from the pros! Adding thicker layers of insulation around your pipes should put your mind at ease this winter season.
Insulate the pipes in all unheated areas, as they are most likely to freeze. A hardware or plumbing supply store should have all the insulation and tools that you need. Wrap the pipes in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. Measure the diameter of your pipes to make sure you purchase the corrects size of tube. Take extra care when you winterize pipes that have frozen during previous winters or have been repaired in the last 12 months, as these pipes are more prone to damage.
2. Winterize Pipes: Fix Exterior Cracks and Seal Crawl Spaces
Take notice of all cracks or holes along the outside walls and foundation of your home. Fill these holes and cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking. This can help stop the cold air from coming in contact with your water pipes during freezing temperatures.
Any beam homes with ventilated crawl spaces should be sealed against cold weather. Cover your vents with heavy-duty pieces of cardboard cut to fit the vents, duct taping the cardboard in place. Don’t forget to seal off access to the crawl space. Check for worn or missing insulation around garage and utility doors. Reducing the amount of cold air in the area minimizes your pipes vulnerability to freezing.
3. Winterize Pipes: Keep a Dripping Faucet
When the temperatures drop below freezing, turn on faucets along the exterior walls to create a small, steady drip. This eliminates pressure that can build between the faucet and an ice blockage. Even if a pipe freezes, it may not burst.
4. Winterize Pipes: Open Cabinets
You can stop frozen pipes by introducing more heat. Open all sink-based cabinet doors along exterior walls to allow more heat to reach pipes.
5. Winterize Pipes: Keep Garage Door Closed
If you keep your garage door closed, it further keeps insulate the rooms adjacent to your garage. Keeping it shut also reduces the risk of any unwanted elements from getting inside, such as debris and nocturnal critters. In addition, it keeps your vehicles safe from car thieves.
6. Winterize Pipes: Keep Thermostat Above 55 Degrees
According to U.S. Department of Energy, you can save energy by keeping your thermostat at 68°F while you are awake and lowering it when you are away from home or sleeping. A temperature from 68-72°F is recommended for optimal energy usage. When you are not home or asleep, the suggested thermostat setting is 62-66°F. Once you are your family adjust to the cooler temperatures, adjust the lower temperature by one degree each week. You will save 1-3% on your heating bill for every degree you turn the thermostat down. It may also be useful to invest in a programmable thermostat. In the end, there is no perfect winter interior temperature for every home or business. Each one is unique and has their own needs.
Busted Pipes Happen, Call on GRS
Sometimes no matter what steps you take to winterize pipes, water damage still happens. If a pipe in your home or business bursts this season, call the team that cares! We’re available 24/7, which is not just a number, it’s a GUARANTEE. For immediate assistance following water damage or another property emergency, call 1-800-349-HELP (4357).