It’s almost that time of year again when you must start thinking about protecting your pipes for the winter. Winterizing your home is vital to prevent freezing pipes. Pipes that are located within unheated areas, such as basements, garages, and attics, are most vulnerable to freezing. However, even pipes running through cabinets and walls are vulnerable.
Why do frozen pipes or faucets often result in leaks and costly damage to your plumbing system? That’s because, as they freeze, the water inside your plumbing expands. This increase in volume puts extreme pressure on your pipes, which can cause them to burst.
The most annoying aspect of this reality is that sometimes the expansion of your plumbing only leads to the tiniest of cracks. That may sound better than a massive leak. However, just because the leak is smaller does not mean you’re in for serious problems. That’s because even tiny leaks can lead to big problems. For instance, a slight crack may not present itself – either in water build-up or increased water bills – for some time. And in that time, small amounts of water sitting in place could lead to damage of your home or the growth of mold and mildew. Also, small cracks can grow – even without a further freezing.
With that in mind, the time to ensure that you will not need to worry about any type of crack is now.
Here are some simple but effective ways you can keep your pipes from freezing during the winter:
- Insulate your pipes and areas of your home that are not well heated – You can buy pre-made pipe insulation (it consists of either polyethylene or fiberglass) and easily wrap your pipes to help avoid a freeze up.
- Keep all doors and windows closed, especially the garage doors – Do your best to keep your home completely sealed up and not allowing the cold air from outside in.
- Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature – Dropping your temperature too much at night may save you some electrical bills, but it could end up biting you by allowing your home to get too cold and allowing certain places to reach freezing temperatures.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate near the plumbing systems – If it is going to get especially cold overnight, you should consider opening any cabinet doors under your sink. This will allow the warmth in your home to circulate more freely around your pipes and help keep them from freezing. This will even help pipes that are a long way from the sink, as the warm air from around the sink circulates through your entire plumbing system.
- Let cold water drip from your faucets – This is an old trick because it is one that works perfectly. If you leave any exposed or worrisome pipe dripping overnight, keeping the water flowing through said pipes will help avoid freezing up by preventing pressure from building up. You do not have to open them wide – or even half open. You can simply allow them to drip to help keep them from freezing.
Traveling during the winter?
It is also recommended that you winterize your pipes if your house is going to be vacant for long periods of time and there will be no water traveling through your pipes. The process involves several simple steps that we’ll help walk you through.
How to completely winterize your home:
- Shut off your main water valve, and then turn off your water pump and water heater. This will protect heating elements in the water heater when there is no water inside the tank.
- Open all drain valves and taps. These should remain open throughout the winter.
- Use an air compressor to blow excess water out of your pipes.
- Open the drain valve in your hot water tank and let it discharge until it is empty. If your tank does not have floor drains, you will need to connect a garden hose to it so you will not create a mess.
- Drain all the water that is left in the holding tank.
- Flush your toilets to remove as much water as you can from the bowls and tanks.
- Check all sinks and tub drains that could have drain traps.
*As an extra protective measure, you can add antifreeze to your drains or toilet bowls to keep any leftover water from freezing and causing damage.
*Leave your heat set to a temperature no lower than 55℉ when you are gone.
The good news is you can do all these steps on your own to protect your home. However, if you discover a problem along the way or if you end up with frozen or damaged pipes, Conditioned Air Systems is here to help you! Just like our HVAC services, we offer 24/7 and emergency plumbing services to attend to your every need. Our experienced plumbers are prepared to fix any problem you may face. Give us a call at 770-536-7509, and we’ll be happy to provide quality help.