As the winter months approach, you’re probably in the process of preparing your house for cold weather. Pipe protection should be near the top of your list as frozen pipes can be an expensive, frustrating situation. When water freezes in the pipes, it expands and puts tremendous strain on the system. If enough pressure builds up, the pipes can burst.
No matter where you live, you should be aware of the causes and risks of frozen or burst pipes. While homes in northern regions are often equipped with extra pipe protection measures because cold temperatures are expected, southern homes may not have these safeguards in place. If your area experiences colder temperatures than usual this year, your home may be at an exceptionally high risk of burst pipes.
Steps for Pipe Protection
Fortunately, there are several pipe protection steps you can take to reduce your risk of a catastrophe. Here are four tips for preventing frozen pipes:
Insulation is your best option for pipe protection. It helps regulate the temperatures inside the pipes, so it can dramatically decrease the risk of freezing. This is an incredibly worthwhile investment for unheated areas of your home, such as your garage or attic. However, if possible, you should insulate the pipes throughout your entire home. The project is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of replacing a burst pipe.
Keep Your Faucets Running
Leaky faucets may not be great for water conservation, but they do help with pipe protection. Running water freezes much less readily than still water, so turning on a couple of faucets throughout your home to a slow, steady drip could help keep them in good condition. It’s best to do this with the taps connected to exposed pipes, as they are at the highest risk of freezing.
Be Mindful of Your Thermostat
Many homeowners lower their thermostat’s temperature at night or while they’re out of the house to reduce their heating bill. Dropping the temperature by a few degrees shouldn’t hurt the pipes, but significantly lowering your thermostat could be risky. Keep this in mind if you’re traveling, too. Even though you won’t be home, you shouldn’t turn off your heat entirely.
Open Your Cabinets
You don’t have to keep your kitchen and bathroom cabinets wide open all winter to protect your pipes, but opening them once in a while can help them warm up. The warm air from your home will circulate better around the outside of the lines when the cabinet doors are open, preventing ice and pressure buildup on frigid days.
Frozen pipes are a nightmare for homeowners, but fortunately, you can prevent this problem by investing some time and money into pipe protection. Taking the time to prepare your home and staying conscious of your home’s temperature throughout the winter should ensure that the pipes stay warm enough through the coldest months of the year.