Preventing Burst Water Pipes

The LAST thing anyone wants to deal with in the wintertime is a big icy watery mess in their home due to burst water pipes.  So today’s blog will address some of the common questions and concerns regarding this damaging peril to your home.

1.        WHY do water pipes burst in the winter?   Answer:  Simply put: SPACE.  Water expands when it freezes and your pipes do not, so suddenly there isn’t enough space in the pipe and it bursts.

 

2.       WHAT happens when my pipes burst?  Answer:  Water damage to your home and plumbing repairs, which can be very costly to you.  Be sure your home is properly insured and that your deductible is one you can manage financially.

 

3.       WHAT can I do to PREVENT my pipes from bursting?   Answer:  There are several simple steps that can help prevent the water in your pipes from freezing in the first place.

·         Insulate all your pipes.  You can buy pipe insulation at most hardware stores.  Secure it with duct tape.  Insulation will slow the freezing process but insulation alone may not stop freezing. 

·         Wrap heat tape around your pipes.  Only buy UL endorsed tape with a build in thermostat to prevent overheating.  Follow manufacturer instructions.  This is especially a good step for pipes that run along outer walls.

·         Keep your garage doors closed.  This helps keep any water supply lines in the garage warm.

·         Open the cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathroom during cold snaps to allow the warmer air from the house to circulate around the pipes.

·         Let the faucets drip enough for a steady trickle to keep the water moving.  Running water takes longer to freeze.

·         Don’t turn your thermostat down on extremely cold nights.  Higher heating bills are better than dealing with water damage and plumbing repairs.

·         If you are going away, set your thermostat NO LOWER than 55 F. 

·         If you are going away for a LONG period, have your home winterized before you leave.

 

4.        WHAT is winterizing your home?  Answer:  Having the pipes and fixtures drained and treated to prevent freezing.  There are several contractors in Northern Michigan that will winterize your home and some that you can hire to check in on your home while you are gone to be sure everything is okay.

 

5.       If I winterize my home, do I still need to keep the heat on?  Answer:  It would be best to keep your heat on at 55F, to keep the home at a steady climate.  Even if your pipes have been properly drained, the water supply is turned off and your fixtures (including sump pump, sprinkler systems and water heaters) have been properly drained and treated to prevent freezing, the best standard of care for your home would be to keep the heat on at a steady temperature of about 55.

 

6.       Do I have to hire a contractor to winterize my home?  Can’t I do it myself?  Answer:  Your best bet is to hire a contractor, however, if you are a “do it yourselfer,” you can check the following sites for more detailed information on how to’s.

      American Red Cross      House Logic      WikiHow

There are also some great You Tube videos available, just search under Preventing Frozen Pipes.

 

7.       WHAT do I do if my pipes are frozen?  Answer:  If you are certain where the frozen pipe is, you can:  1:  Keep the faucet open   2. Apply gentle heat to the pipe, using heating pad or a hair dryer.  Keep the heat on until the full water pressure is restored.   If you DON’T KNOW where the frozen pipe is, CALL A PLUMBER.   NEVER, EVER USE ANYTHING FLAMMABLE TO THAW YOUR PIPES.

8.       Call DEVETTE & FORD to be sure your home is properly insured! 

 

 

Until next time...I'm still yet...

Nancy

 

 

 

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