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How To Avoid Burst Pipes in The Winter

by | Feb 8, 2022 | Home Preparedness

How To Avoid Burst Pipes in The Winter

Several years ago, a homeowner called us to say that they heard a “hissing” in their walls and they figured it was a burst pipe. As certified plumbers, as well as restoration experts, we hunted the problem down to an odd spot.

The water line on the refrigerator had frozen under the house. Not only did that cause the ice and water in the refrigerator to malfunction, but it made a mess under the house that needed attention.

When a pipe bursts, it’s more than just an inconvenience in the function of a particular home amenity or fixture. Prolonged water can cause water damage, mold, odor, and a host of other problems.

Preventing burst pipes is your best bet. Here are some tips for avoiding burst pipes in the winter.

Don’t Touch That Thermostat

It may seem reasonable to adjust your thermostat in winter. You may be going out of town. You may have doubled down on cozy sweaters and warm blankets.

But if you keep your thermostat at a consistent temperature, you’ll help your pipes stay warm enough, which can prevent pipes from freezing.

No matter what you do, don’t let the temperature drop below freezing in any section of your home where there are water lines. It will freeze pipes, and burr!

Even if it’s a room you don’t use often, keep it above freezing.

Keeps Those Pipes Insulated

Exposed, uninsulated pipes can freeze easily. When they freeze, they can burst. Exposed pipes that are on exterior walls or in the attic or basement are particularly susceptible.

You can find materials appropriate for insulating these pipes, or you can get a certified plumber to inspect your home. They can identify pipes especially prone to freezing (and therefore bursting) with safe materials.

Double Down on Insulation in Your Home

To add to the previous point, areas of your home that are uninsulated can wreak havoc on the pipes there. While pipes themselves should be insulated, those unheated areas in your home can be a problem.

If you insulate those areas, your pipes stay warmer (especially if THEY are insulated too!) and are less likely to freeze and burst.

You can try to add insulation on your own, but it’s messy and can be dangerous, depending on the type of insulated used. You can also hire a specialist to do that.

Open Cabinet Doors

This isn’t a sure-fire way to make sure your pipes don’t burst, but it can be helpful. Opening cabinet doors beneath your bathroom sinks and kitchen sink can get the heated air circulating around your pipes, warming them.

This tip is more likely to work when your cabinet doors are situated along the exterior walls of your home or business. Obviously, the closer they are to the outside, and the less insulation they have, will play a part in whether they will freeze.

Keep The Water Running

Obviously, we don’t mean to turn on your taps full force and let them run. But keeping a tap dripping when it’s super cold outside can keep the pipes from freezing.

This trick is most effective when it’s a faucet that is far away from the water source. Keeping the tap dripping forces water to run through most of your home or business’s plumbing system.

Keeping that system active makes it less likely to freeze, and then burst. If you’ve got a faucet that’s source is a pipe exposed to the outside, keep it dripping as well.

Make Concessions When You’re Going Out of Town

Maybe you’ve decided that you’ve had enough with the cold, and you’re taking the kids to Florida.

That’s fine, but there are a few things you can do to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting when you’re out of town. Maryland can get very cold in these winter months.

First, refer to the above point and avoid turning the thermostat way down. If your house gets super cold inside, those exterior pipes are very likely to freeze, and perhaps burst. Another thing you can do is just shut off your main water line and drain your home or business’s water system. However, don’t do this if you have a fire protection system.

An expert plumber can check your home or business for vulnerabilities and help safeguard you against pipes freezing, and subsequently bursting. At B+M Restoration, we have a team of great plumbers who can help you avoid this costly and inconvenient winter worry.

Contact us to see how we can help you with your plumbing needs.



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