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Preventing Frozen Pipes

Protect Your Plumbing This Winter

When temperatures drop here in Iowa, the risk of your pipes freezing and possibly bursting increases. Frozen and burst pipes are among the most common causes of property damage during the winter months.

Areas of Your Home to Consider

The most commonly affected pipes are those running through unheated crawl spaces, garages, and attics. Pipes on outside walls, such as those that feed the kitchen sink, are also susceptible to freezing. Another problem area is pipes running to outdoor hose bibbs. This is especially problematic for those who rely on a tube to refill a hot tub in the winter.

Fortunately, there are some very simple and smart things you can do to prepare your pipes for those frosty, below-freezing days and nights.

How to Prevent Pipes From Bursting

1. Pipe Insulation

You or your plumber can wrap vulnerable pipes with specialty insulation to help keep out the freeze. Pipe insulation is inexpensive. There is no reason not to wrap pipes in unheated spaces or on outside walls.

2. Leave the Heat On

Most of us turn the thermostat way down at night or when at work or traveling. That is understandable to save money on fuel. However, if there is a frost advisory, leave the heat on just enough to keep the pipes from freezing. That means the interior of the home should be around 55 to 58 degrees minimum.

3. Open Cabinet Doors

When you are turning the thermostat down, make sure the heat is getting to exposed pipes on outside walls. Open the cabinet doors beneath sinks to allow for the warmth of the indoor air to get to the pipes.

4. Turn on the Faucets

When severe cold weather is predicted, it is always a good idea to open up the taps of each sink by turning on the faucet just enough for a tiny drip to escape. Running water is an excellent way to prevent freezing.

5. Drain the Pipes

If you plan on being away from your home for an extended period, or you won’t be using your hose bibbs over the winter, drain the pipes. This is very simple: open the hot and cold faucets or bibbs so that the water flows freely. Then, turn the main water supply off. Allow the taps to drain and leave them open. This removes the water from the supply pipes and prevents freezing.

Frozen pipes can cause some devastating and expensive damage to your home. Avoiding this plumbing nightmare is simple. Consult with an expert to help with prevention or to safely thaw out frozen pipes. Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in the Des Moines area can offer expert advice and services. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment. (515) 305-2955