With the hustle and bustle of the holidays and tax season shortly afterward, burst pipes are the last thing any Indiana homeowner wants to deal with. However, when temperatures drop below freezing, this problem begins to crop up all across the state.
WHY DO PIPES BURST WHEN THEY FREEZE?
Pipes burst due to water pressure. Imagine a pipe. At one end, you have a tap that’s turned off. At the other end, you have water that’s freezing into ice. When the water freezes, it expands, and water pressure starts pushing toward the tap--but there’s a problem. The tap is off, so the pressure can’t be released through that outlet. Instead, the pressure builds between the ice blockage and the tap until it makes the pipe bursts.
HOW TO PREVENT YOUR PIPES FROM FREEZING AND BURSTING
Use the tips below to keep your plumbing system from bursting during the winter--or during the odd fall or spring cold snap (8-degree weather in November is not unheard of in our corner of the U.S.).
1. Get in the habit of checking the forecast daily.
When checking the weather, don’t forget to look at the projected temperature “lows” coming up for the next several days. Since most of us always have our phones on hand, this is the fastest way to check. Simply use the pre-installed app, or install a more advanced option, like the highly-rated app WeatherBug for iPhone or Android.
2. Insulate “at-risk” pipes.
Pipes in areas that lack insulation (like exterior areas, garages, crawl spaces, and attics) are the most susceptible to freezing. Pre-slit foam or rubber pipe insulation provides protection against chilly temperatures and is also cost-effective and easy to install. It can also reduce your wait time for hot water and lower your energy costs.
3. Set the thermostat so that your heater will come on periodically.
There are two reasons why you want your heater so come on every so often, even if you won’t be at home:
- It will help keep your energy bills lower because your system will require less energy to keep your home’s temperature consistent.
- Keeping heat in your home will prevent the pipes from freezing.
4. Leave your bathroom and kitchen sink cabinet doors open.
Leaving these doors open allows your home’s heat to more easily reach the plumbing under the sinks.
5. Leave your faucets on.
Turn your faucets on so that only a trickle of water comes out (you don’t want a monstrous water bill at the end of the month, after all). This will be enough to relieve the water pressure between the tap and any ice build-up.
6. If you’ll be away for a long time, drain the water out of your pipes.
If you’re heading away for a trip and are worried about temperatures dropping while you’re gone, you can take this extra precaution. Find your home’s main water supply valve, shut it off, and then turn on your faucets until no more water comes out.
For plumbing issues in your home or business, you can always rely on our plumbers at Meyers Companies, Inc.. Contact us today to schedule your appointment: (219) 240-0610.