How To Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Home or Business
Updated: Mar 5, 2020
As winter approaches, you face the risk of freezing pipes in your home or business. Water has a unique molecular structure, which means it expands once it reaches a solid state. This expansion can clog pipes, which can interfere with water pressure. If not addressed, frozen water can actually do major damage to your residential or commercial plumbing system; when the pressure becomes too much, pipes may burst, leading to flooding and expensive repairs. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent frozen pipes.
1. Insulate Your Pipes
Uninsulated plumbing is at a higher risk of freezing, even if it’s inside a heated area. Insulation keeps heat close to the pipes, which is vital to keeping water in its liquid state.
When pipes aren’t insulated, the temperature changes, moving away from plumbing and doing little to affect the water inside.
You can insulate your plumbing system by adding insulation to your walls and ceilings, or you can insulate the pipes themselves. This may be especially useful for under sinks or other places where pipes are exposed.
2. Seal Doors and Windows
The other side of insulation is keeping cold out. Doors and windows are weak points when it comes to insulation, since they may have cracks between the door and frame or the window and sill. While tiny, these cracks can let cold air in, affecting the overall temperature.
Fortunately, this problem is fairly easy to solve. You can add weather stripping, which creates an air-tight seal when doors and windows are closed, but doesn’t interfere with their function.
3. Keep Water Moving
Water is less likely to freeze if it’s moving. When all your faucets are off, water just sits in the plumbing, allowing ice to build. To prevent this, you can keep one faucet on a steady drip.
This is also an excellent way to reduce pipe pressure. Closed faucets allow pressure to build inside your plumbing, which is what causes bursting. An open faucet alleviates that pressure, keeping pipes from bursting even if they somehow become frozen.
4. Use Heating Tape
If you have easily accessible plumbing sections that pose a high freezing risk, you can use heating tape. This device is a heating pad you can wrap around pipes. However, it has the same drawbacks as most heating pads:
- Cannot be left unattended due to fire risk
- May need to be plugged in
-Cannot be left on indefinitely due to fire risk
One way to mitigate these issues is to get an automatic heating tape, which senses temperature and turns on and off accordingly.
5. Heat Your Home or Business
It can be tempting to turn the heat off when you leave to save on energy bills. While lowering the thermostat shouldn’t cause too much trouble, turning off your AC system altogether can increase pipes’ freezing risk. Once pipes get cold, it takes time to heat them again, which means the water inside is colder for longer than you may think.
So what temperature should you set the thermostat at? 50 degrees Fahrenheit is a good option, because it’s well above freezing, but it is cool enough to save electricity.
6. Allow Air To Circulate
Since you’re going through the trouble to heat your home or business, you should make sure that hot hair doesn’t accumulate in pockets, leaving other areas significantly colder. To make sure plumbing is being sufficiently heated, you should open under-sink cabinet doors to expose pipes to warm air. You should also make sure interior doors are open, so air circulates evenly throughout the rooms.
Contact Us Today!
Are you having issues with frozen plumbing? Adam & Eve Plumbing is available 24/7 to take care of all your plumbing emergencies. For more information or to request services, give us a call at 330-539-9301 or contact us online.