4 Ways To Prevent Pipes From Freezing This Winter
With outdoor temperatures reaching record lows all over the country each winter, it's becoming more likely that the plumbing inside your home can freeze if you are not careful. Here are some tips that can prevent that from happening.
Close Vents on Upper Floors
Your home will naturally feel cold in the basement and warm on the second floor because heat rises throughout your home. This means that the exposed pipes in your basement have a greater chance of freezing because the temperature down there will be lower. Place a thermometer near those pipes and see how cold they are getting. If the temperature is not anywhere close to the rest of your home, you may want to redirect heat on very cold days.
Try closing all of the vents to rooms in your home on the first and second floor, and only open vents in the basement. This will cause the basement to warm up much easier, and all that heat will still rise to the floors above it. This can give you some peace of mind during a deep freeze that the plumbing is safe.
Use Heat Tape
If you do not have HVAC ventilation in your basement because it is unfinished, consider purchasing heat tape from your local home improvement store. This tape plugs into a nearby outlet and wraps around the pipe to keep it warm. It won't heat your water to the point where it would get too hot, but it will prevent the water inside from freezing.
Open Vanity Cabinet Doors
The plumbing underneath your sink is often in a closed-off cabinet, which can cause the temperature inside to be significantly colder than the rest of your house. Make sure to open up those cabinet doors when the temperature is approaching record lows outside. This can be enough to increase the temperature of the pipes and prevent them from freezing and to avoid a plumbing disaster.
Allow Faucets to Drip
Preventing water from becoming stagnant in the pipes is another key to prevent them from freezing. On cold days, open the faucets at every sink so that they drip water very slowly. Combined with other techniques, this method can be enough to prevent the water from being still for too long, which will cause it to freeze.
If you do encounter a frozen pipe in your home, make sure not to panic! Call a local plumber for assistance unfreezing the pipe or repairing a pipe that burst.