Water expands on freezing and this puts significant amount of pressure on anything that contains it. without concern for the strength of the pipes, expanding water has the potential to break them. Most often the pipes that freeze are the ones that get exposed to the cold. Repair and replacement could cost you a decent amount of money. It will be better to follow the below-mentioned tips to ensure that the pipes don't get damaged during the freezing cold weather.
1. Insulate Exposed Pipes
If you have exposed pipes in your home, make sure that they are properly insulated. Many homes have laundry tubs in their basement and there are pipes running through the wall connected to another pipe upstairs. These pipes touch one of the outside walls and are not insulated. Whether you have such a pipe or one that is located outdoors, cheap insulation can be purchased to protect it against the freezing cold weather.
You may also heat the exposed pipes in the basement or attic using a space heater. Usually, basements and attics don't get as warm as the rest of the space in your home, and this makes the pipes here more vulnerable to freezing. You can time space heaters and don't have to keep them on all the time. Mostly, you can achieve the desired results by keeping them on through the night.
2. Drain off Water from Outdoor Pipes
Drain off water from all the pipes that lead outside. In simple terms, close down water supply to all the external plumbing pools, outdoor faucets and water sprinklers. Check the manufacturer's instructions or if you can spend a few hundred dollars call a professional service for winterizing your system.
Disconnect all the outdoor hoses. If there is an outdoor faucet or garden hose, disconnect it to prevent cool air from entering and freezing the indoor pipes. You can never tell how vulnerable your pipes can become during the winter.
3. Run Faucets
When the temperatures drop extremely low, run the faucets occasionally. The mechanism behind this method is to relieve even the smallest amount of pressure that could build because of ice blockages. Even if the pipes freeze, draining off water regularly could help prevent them from bursting because of excessive pressure buildup. If you don't want this to affect your water bill, drain off water only from those fixtures that are connected to the exposed pipes because they are most likely to freeze.
According to the Weather Channel, a pipe doesn't break where the ice is formed. This may come as a surprise to you. The break in a pipe doesn't occur because of the radial expansion of ice. When ice has formed inside a pipe, the continuous process of freezing and expansion within the pipe results in increasing the water pressure downstream. This pressure builds between the ice and the closed faucet, and it is this pressure that causes the pipe to break.
4. Maintain Internal Temperature
Maintain the internal temperature at 55F or higher. Even if you are going out for some time, leave your home at this temperature. This may increase your heating bill, but it will keep the pipes warm and relatively safer.
Follow the above-mentioned tips to ensure that you are not leaving your plumbing vulnerable to the freezing temperatures. It will require some time and effort on your part to take these measures, but the results are certainly going to pay off in helping you avoid huge repair and replacement bills.