If you’ve ever had a water pipe burst in your home, you know that it can cause devastating damage if not addressed immediately. With the cold weather upon us, the possibility for freezing pipes increases. If the water inside the pipes freezes, it will expand and cause the pipe to crack and eventually burst.
The alternative is to prevent them from bursting in the first place. Here are some tips on how to do so.
1. Disconnect Hoses
Remove the hoses from your outdoor faucets. If you leave them attached to the spigot, any remaining water in the hose bib is trapped inside the tube. As a result, it freezes, expands and cracks the pipe.
2. Insulate Pipes
It is recommended to insulate all internal water pipes, but especially those most susceptible to freezing. These include pipes in unheated or uninsulated areas of your home, like the attic, crawlspaces, garage and exterior walls. Using foam insulation is effective and reasonably priced.
3. Use Heat Tape
You can also use electrical heat tape or thermostat-controlled heating cables on exposed pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. These products will keep the pipes warm with an electric current to keep the water inside them flowing. This method is recommended in extremely cold weather.
4. Keep the Heat on
If your home is vacant for a period of time, don’t try to save a bit of cash by turning the heat off. Even if you think that the weather will not get cold enough to freeze the pipes, there is always a possibility of it happening. Don’t take the risk of the damage that would result if the temperature drops below freezing. You don’t need to keep the home warm enough to be comfortable if it were inhabited; setting the thermostat at 50 degrees should be sufficient to keep the pipes warm and prevent freezing.
5. Allow Faucets to Drip
Opening one or two faucets enough to allow a slight drip can keep water flowing through the pipes, relieving pressure and keeping them from bursting.
6. Keep Interior Doors Open
Keeping all doors open throughout your home will circulate the heat and keep pipes on exterior walls from freezing. If your faucets in the kitchen and bath are connected to an exterior wall, the pipes are often inside a cabinet or vanity. Keeping those cabinet doors open during extreme cold can help prevent freezing.
7. Seal Cracks
It’s always a good idea to seal cracks and holes in your walls to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. But it’s especially critical to repair any openings near your water pipes, it can increase the chance of them freezing.
8. Check Buried Pipes
If there are any pipes in the ground leading to garages or sheds, they need to be buried deep enough to prevent freezing. The frost line in St. Louis County is established at 30″ below ground grade.
9. Know Where the Shutoff Valve Is
Should a pipe burst, knowing where to shut off the water to your home can prevent you from having a big and expensive mess on your hands.
10. Use Products Appropriately
Always use products according to manufacturer’s instructions. Do not use interior-use products on the exterior.
If Your Water Pipes Burst
Even if you follow these tips, there may be a chance of burst pipes. If it happens, act immediately to minimize the destruction. You can also see our recommendations on what to do and not do in water damage cleanup.
Once you turn off the water source, call St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration as soon as possible. We are available 24/7 for emergency situations to help prevent further devastation to your home.
We have been serving St. Louis families, businesses and corporations since 1991 as a local family-owned company. Our mission is to exceed our client’s expectations and provide fair and honest pricing, quality service, innovative technology and unprecedented customer service.