If you own your own home, you probably do not spend a lot of time thinking about your plumbing. You may not realize that your plumbing system is made of up of two distinct parts. You have one system to bring fresh and clean water into your home and another to take the waste and dirty water out. If you would like to avoid a freeze break repair bill, there are things you should do for your pipes.
When you are looking to protect your pipes in the winter months, it is important to know the reasons this is necessary. Most substances behave differently from water. In general, when a material goes from a liquid to a solid, it becomes smaller. The bonds between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water is very strong. Because of this, water behaves like other substances do not. When it freezes, it grows in size. This means that the water in your pipes can freeze and cause you to need freeze break repairs done. It does not matter if you have the best pipes on the planet, freezing water can still cause them to burst.
The pipes that have the highest risks for freezing and busting are:
- Any part of the plumbing system that is exposed to the elements. Typically, these are the pipes for pools, hot tubs, hoses and the sprinkler system.
- Plumbing that supplies parts of the house that do not have climate control systems. These include pipes in attics, garages, crawl spaces and basements.
- Plumbing that has the wrong insulation.
- There are things you can do to prevent the dreaded freeze break repair bill. Before the cold air comes to town:
- Get all of the water out of hoses and pipes that are outside. You should have owner’s manuals for your swimming pool, sprinkler system or any other outdoor plumbing system you have. It may be tempting to out anti-freeze in your lines. You should never do this as it is very dangerous for animals and children and it is bad for your yard and the environment.
- Put your hoses away. Any hoses that you use in your garden or yard need to be coiled up and put away for the winter.
- Drain your outdoor bibs. You never want to fully close it because you may have more water in the system than you know. You need to be able to let it out.
- Make sure all the plumbing in your home has the proper insulation. This includes the pipes that go through your areas that are not heated. All of the pipes in your home need adequate insulation. That means the pipes that carry hot water need it as much as the pipes that carry cold water. This also will make your system more efficient.
- Do not allow your home to get too cold. It makes sense to let your home get a little colder when no one is around but you should make sure the temperature does not get too low. Even when you go away from the area, you should not turn off your heating. You need to leave it set to 55% to prevent needing freeze break repairs once you return home. You need your heating unit to keep your pipes warm enough to not freeze.
If you do have pipes that have frozen but have not burst, there are some things you can do:
- Do not close the faucet. When you think you have a frozen pipes, before you call in the plumbing contractors, you should let water run through the system for a bit. This can make the ice in your pipes melt.
- Use some heat on the pipe. Experts in plumbing services recommend using a heating pad. Fold it over the pipe in question. You can also use a space heater (be careful that it is not near anything that can catch on fire) or a hair dryer. Some people think a blowtorch (or something similar) would work well. Never use one to thaw your pipes.
- Keep at it until you know all of the ice has melted. That is the best way to not need freeze break repairs in your home’s plumbing.