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Jan 15

Winter Plumbing Tips

Around here in the south we should look for exposed water pipes during the winter months. Freezing pipes are a problem in warmer climates where they often run through un-insulated or under-insulated attics or crawl spaces.

Prevent Frozen Pipes
water facet
If water freezes within a pipe, it will expand and crack the pipe, which
ultimately can cost you time and money.
The water expanding into ice within the pipe can cause an increase in water pressure. This blockage can create excessive pressure throughout the system and cause pipe failure.

 

Pipes to inspect before a winter freeze.
You can reduce your chance of property damage by preparing your water pipes before a freeze. The pipes that you need to inspect and prepare before a freeze:

  • pipes that run against exterior walls
  • outdoor water faucet
  • sprinkler lines
  • pipes in attics
  • pipes in crawl spaces
  • pipes in garages

Prepare While the Climate Is Warm

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  • Drain water from the swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines
  • Remove and drain outdoor hoses. Cover outdoor water faucet with insulated covers.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines located in unheated areas.
  • A hot water supply line can freeze if the water is not running through the line.
  • Consider installing products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or exposed water pipes.

Take Action during Cold Weather

  • Keep the garage door closed if there are water supply lines located inside.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Keep the heating thermostat set at a consistent temperature both day and night.

Thaw frozen pipes.

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  • Make sure you know where the main water valve is located outside of your home. The frozen pipe may already be broken.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

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