How To Prevent Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are high on the list of things you hope never happen to you. Frozen pipes aren’t even the worst of it — burst pipes, and all the water damage that entails, are definitely a nightmare situation.
But luckily, frozen pipes can generally be avoided with a few precautions.
Take A Look At Where You’re Most Vulnerable
I know right off the top of my head where I’m most likely to experience a frozen pipe: in the unheated room off the garage where my washer and dryer are. All the rest of the pipes are under my house, in the crawl space, which, although technically unheated, enjoys some waste heat from the house.
If you trace the path of water through your home you’ll probably locate similar weak spots, where the certain pipes are less protected from the cold than their fellows.
Baby It’s Cold Outside
Most people don’t think about the risk of freezing pipes until the pipes are literally at risk of freezing. By that point, they’re just operating on a wing and a prayer. However, there are still some things you can do to prevent freezing.
The simplest is to set up a halogen work-light on the space where the pipes are most likely to freeze. Halogen lamps throw off a lot of heat, so they can make the area warm enough to avoid problems. Halogens are not without problems of their own, however. They get so hot, they might pose a fire hazard, so don’t let them get too close to anything.
But what if the power is out and the mercury is falling? If you have water pressure, open a tap so that there’s a trickle of water flowing. Flowing water freezes less easily than still water. If you don’t have water pressure, then open the taps full bore to drain the lines as much as possible. That way if the remnants do freeze, at less it will have a little room to expand.
An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
After the crisis has passed, don’t get caught with your pants down again. Proactively have a plumber install heat tape or insulation to your pipes (the insulation will be better for your electric bill, too.) The heat tape is an electricity-conducting wire embedded in tape that connects to an ordinary three-prong plug. In the event of a deep chill, plugging it in will be like tucking your pipes in with an electric blanket.
There you have it! Simple, effective ways to prevent frozen pipes!