Winterize your pipes for strong deep freeze protection.
Don’t let frozen water pipes leave you out in the cold this winter. When water freezes in a pipe, it can exert pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch, enough to rupture most any pipe filled with water which leaves no place for the ice to expand. If the pipe bursts, it can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and the damage caused can be costly. Here are a few steps you can take to help protect pipes before “old man winter” blows through.
1. Insulate exposed pipes and faucets. The pipes most susceptible to freezing are located in an outside wall, under a sink on an outside wall, and in an unheated crawlspace. Open kitchen base cabinets to let room air circulate. To insulate outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated areas, wrap them with newspaper, rags, or other insulated material. Cover them with plastic and secure with string or wire. Foam insulation is commercially available.
2. Locate your main shut-off valve. Don’t wait for an emergency! Find your valve now and if a pipe breaks, you can stop excessive water loss and home flooding by turning off the main shut-off valve. Make certain every member of the household knows the location of the valve. It is commonly located in the basement, the garage, or outdoors by the foundation. If you do not have a shut-off valve, consider having a plumber install one.
3. Winterize your vacant house. If you leave your house for several days, help prevent the pipes from freezing by turning off the main shut-off valve, turning off the hot water heater, opening indoor and outdoor faucets to drain pipes, flushing the toilet once to drain the tank but not the bowl, and leaving your heat on a minimum temperature setting to help prevent pipes from freezing in interior walls.
4. Protect pipes prone to freezing. Pipes that have frozen in the past, despite precautionary measures, can be wrapped with electrical heat tape. This tape, a ribbon-type wrap with electrical heating elements in it, is wrapped around the pipe you want to heat and plugged into the wall. The temperature is controlled with a thermostat. It is suggested you hire a plumber for this type of insulation.