Cold Weather Plumbing Tips
While spring is just around the corner, the weather is still freezing cold in many places, especially in the northeast. There are certain precautions that the best plumbers in Boston agree will help protect your plumbing system when the temperature drops below freezing. If you don’t want to pay a small fortune in repairs once the weather warms up, be sure to heed the following cold weather plumbing tips.
Fix Plumbing Leaks Immediately
This piece of advice applies to all seasons, regardless of the temperature. But in the winter, it can be more challenging to notice a leak, especially if the water keeps freezing. Leaky plumbing causes all sorts of more expensive issues, including damage to walls, flooring, and furnishings. What’s more is that not all homeowners’ insurance policies cover leaks. You can probably get a sudden, unexpected water leak covered, but if you have a slow leak that causes damage over time, you may be out of luck.
Let Your Faucet Drip
Whenever the temperature outside is expected to drop below freezing, be sure to let your faucet drip until the temperature rises, especially for pipes that are inside walls that are exposed to the outside. The reason behind this logic is that you want to keep the water flowing through the pipes because flowing water is less likely to freeze. When the water just sits in the pipes, it’s going to freeze and your pipes could burst from the pressure building up behind the ice blockage.
Burst pipes are a nightmare and a problem that must be fixed immediately. Fortunately, letting your faucet drip on the coldest of nights can prevent this all-too-common plumbing issue from happening. Not only will you have to pay to get your pipes repaired, but just as with a leak, you’ll have to pay for any damages that the water from the burst pipe causes (or your insurance company will, anyway).
Open Your Cabinets
Another way to help prevent frozen pipes is to open your cabinet doors to the spaces beneath your sinks, such as in the kitchen and bathroom. Open cabinets allow heat to flow to the pipes, keeping them much warmer than they would otherwise be, particularly if they run along an exterior wall. This simple trick may save you a major plumbing headache.
Turn Off Exterior Spigots
You probably won’t be doing much lawn maintenance during the winter, so you also won’t need running water outside your house very often either. Before the temperature drops too low, turn off the water to any outdoor spigots to keep the water from standing in exterior pipes over the winter. Additionally, disconnect any hoses that run to these outside spigots to make sure residual water doesn’t freeze and ruin the rubber. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a leaky hose in the summer.
Insulate Your Pipes
Exposed plumbing pipes can be instantly warmed by insulating them with pipe insulation. Insulation tubes made from polyethylene or fiberglass wrap around the pipes, providing them a barrier between them and freezing temperatures. It’s an inexpensive method for protecting plumbing pipes that are exposed in your basement or run along the exterior walls of your home. All unheated areas in your home that contain plumbing pipes should have insulation around the pipes.
Seal Your Crawl Space
In the winter, a ventilated crawl space only serves to further chill your plumbing pipes. The cold air blows into the crawl space, cooling the pipes above and around it. Any crawl space vents and the access to the space should be sealed with cardboard and duct tape. If you have a basement instead of a crawl space, your windows should be tightly sealed to ensure no cold air is coming into your house and causing your pipes to freeze.
Winter is no time to mess around with your plumbing. Use these tips to make sure you make it to spring without frozen or burst pipes.