As the colder temperatures begin to settle into the Annapolis area, it's time for Maryland residents to start safeguarding their homes from unwanted damage from cold weather.
Winter preparation means more than moving valuable outdoor furniture indoors. After getting your yard ready, bring the prep inside and don't overlook your home's plumbing.
The interior of your home is vulnerable to the dropping temperatures even if your heater warms up the inside.
Water runs safely when in its liquid form throughout pipes but can cause severe damage when the temperature drops.
Frozen pipes are a common occurrence during the winter months and can be expensive to repair if not caught early. Pipelines in open areas of your home, such as the garage, attic, or in a crawl space can remain exposed to the elements and are at risk of freezing.
Frozen water can create a blockage in the pipe, inhibiting or altogether preventing water flow. The pressure built up from the obstruction eventually causes the frozen pipe to burst.
Frozen pipes cause severe damage and could flood your home.
Make sure to take these preventative measures outlined below this winter to avoid frozen pipes. Small steps now could save you big later. Take these steps before the cold settles in for the winter.
Keep Cabinet Doors Open
Cabinets are often used to conceal piping and left uninsulated in dark and cold spaces causing the pipes to freeze when the temperatures drop indoors.
Keeping cabinet doors open can help keep the pipes warm. The hot air from your home will be able to circulate through the cabinet space and reach your hidden pipes.
Allow the Faucets to Drip
If and when a pipe freezes, the pressure is amassed between the blockage and the faucet, leading the pipe to burst eventually. If you suspect a pipe is starting to freeze, by allowing the valve to drip slightly, you are relieving the stress from the system. Maintaining a steady water flow prevents the pressure from building up and keeps the pipe from bursting.
Seal Up Cracks and Holes
Taking preventative measures on cracks and holes in your piping can save you time and money down the road. Freezing temperatures could cause severe damage to a cracked or leaky pipe.
Getting a professional to inspect your plumbing system and prepare it for winter can help save you money and time. A Linthicum Plumber can help fix or replace damaged plumbing and get it ready to take on the cold.
Inspect not only your piping but also your walls and home’s foundation.
Interior and exterior wall cracks and air leaks, can let cold air into your warm home.
Make sure your basement, garage, attic and crawl space are all insulated to allow water to flow freely in the pipes.
Add Insulation to Your Pipes
Places such as your basement, garage, attic and crawl space tend to be poorly insulated. In these areas, your plumbing system is more vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
Adding insulation to the walls may be the first possible solution. The next would be to add insulation around the actual pipes.
Poorly insulated pipes allow water to condense, which freezes in the wintertime.
Proper insulation around pipes limits heat transfer and protects against the build-up of moisture. Insulated pipes are ready to take on the cold temperature that winter brings, keeping the hot water in and the cold out.
Keep the Heat On
Taking a few moments to prepare your home before you leave for winter vacation can prevent you from coming back to frozen pipes.
Lowering the temperatures is an economic trick to save money on the electricity bill while you are away. However, it may be putting your plumbing at risk. Leaving the temperature set at least above 50 degrees will ensure your home stays warm enough to keep water flowing in your pipes.
At night, lowering the temperature makes the home a more comfortable space to sleep. However, keeping your home at a constant temperature can prevent fluctuation in your pipes.
Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
Winter is a good time to disconnect your hoses and put away the garden tools.
Closing outdoor faucet heads will stop the flow of water and prevent freezing at the opening. Frozen water inside the pipes could cause a severe rupture leading to costly repairs.
Turn off the water at the primary source, the outdoor water valve as well. Take preventative measures for your outdoor piping, as it is especially vulnerable to freezing.
If you notice you have a frozen pipe, don’t worry. If the water is still flowing, there may be time to thaw out the affected area, try applying heat to the frozen pipe by using a blow dryer or hot blankets.
Thawing out a pipe may be risky and need more than a warm blanket to get the job done.
A licensed, insured and bonded plumber, from Linthicum Plumbing, is your best bet to help repair your pipes.