Every winter, temperatures get below freezing and so far you have been lucky enough to not have frozen pipes. However, what if you went on a trip? Many homeowners don’t think about the possibility of frozen pipes and will totally shut off the heat to the house during their absence. They will also not think about the fact that any remaining water in the pipes could possibly freeze.
If you do happen to forget to take precautions such as leaving the water tricking in the faucets and leaving your heat on, you can expect your pipes to freeze and then burst once they thaw, leaving a big flooding mess. Can you imagine dealing with flooding water, ruined drywall and carpeting during the coldest time of the year? Not only is it a pain, it is quite expensive too!
Prevention is the Best Policy
Why leave water trickling out of your faucet during freezing weather? The reason is water freezes at a lower temperature when it is moving, unlike still water. Consider this theory when you see lakes frozen in the winter while nearby rivers are flowing freely. If you keep a trickle of water flowing from your faucets during freezing temperatures, you will prevent your plumbing pipes from freezing.
A reason why pipes may burst in the winter time is because people who go out of town will forget to leave the heater on, even if it is just on low. Rather, they turn it completely off. During freezing temperatures, it is possible for the inside of your home, ergo your pipes, to reach freezing temperatures as well. Even insulated homes cannot prevent pipes from freezing if the heat is turned off. The best recourse if you are leaving town with possible frozen temperatures coming is to set your thermostat on low, about 55 degrees. While your home will still be cold, it will be above freezing.
You can insulate your pipes for additional protection against freezing. Indoors, you can insulate pipes you can see in your attic or basement using a special foam or wrap. Outdoors, any pipes exposed or vulnerable to the elements should definitely be wrapped with insulating foam. You could potentially save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs with this bit of preventative maintenance.
For the ultimate protection, you can turn your water complete off to the house if you are going out of town during a freeze spell. Be sure though to run the water completely out of the pipes after the main water valve to the home is shut down to make sure no remaining water freezes within the pipes.
Sometimes, despite all the precautions possible, a pipe may still freeze. You will know if this happens when it starts to leak after thawing out. Some pipes will leak slowly while others may burst from the pressure. At this point, the only thing you can do is turn the water off to the house and call a plumber. A professional is the best recourse in a situation like this.