Winter has arrived in the Capital Region and it has brought a major arctic freeze with it. Many concerns come with this type of weather and if you are a homeowner than frozen pipes should be on your mind. Frozen pipes can cause a huge, costly mess. Fortunately, frozen pipes can be avoided and there are some ways that you can get them thawed without causing more damage.
Preparing pipes for cold weather in advance is best, but there are things that you can do once the cold weather actually arrives. While not every frozen pipe situation become a leaky disaster, you should always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Here are some steps to take to keep your home’s pipes from freezing.
- Insulate pipes – This can be done very easily with insulation sleeves and they work great on easily accessible pipes that are in areas with poor heat circulation, including basements or along exterior walls. Coming in foam rubber or fiberglass, each sleeve is curved to wrap around the pipe, meeting flush to surround it completely. Creating a barrier between the pipes and the unforgiving cooler air temperature is a simple and easy DIY project. You may also consider adding insulation to your walls or on your basement ceiling to protect pipes, and as an added bonus insulate your whole home better!
- Heating Tape – An awesome “in a pinch” option to keep pipes from freezing is electrical heating tape. This tape wraps around your pipes and is plugged into the wall. Electricity then heats the tape to keep pipes nice and warm. There are many different types of this tape and they are found at major retail hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot, as well as general hardware stores. Heating tape can also be used to thaw frozen pipes.
- Heat It Up – An arctic freeze is not the time to get stingy with your heating. When a home is occupied the temperature is something that is very important to the comfort of those living in it. However, if you leave a home for a vacation or own a property that is vacant, including seasonal residences, you want to maintain a temperature that will make sure your home’s mechanicals stay in working order. If you own a property that is vacant it may be in your best interest to just have it professionally winterized. If you own a seasonal residence and plan on visiting during winter months you may want to consider keeping your heat at 55° or warmer. In all homes, interior doors should remain open to keep a good flow of air and if necessary open cupboard and access doors to keep pipes warm. Portable heaters can also be handy at keeping pipes from thawing, especially in uninsulated or poorly heated areas; make sure to use them as instructed and keep them away from water.
- Faucets On – Keep your faucet on at a trickle or drip. Leaving the faucet on can keep pipes at a steady temp above freezing and if they should freeze the line is open so the pressure should not burst any pipes.
Be diligent when it comes to keeping an eye on the pipes in your home. A broken pipe can cost you thousands. Take the precautions to make sure your pipes don’t freeze and save yourself a major hassle.
Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Clifton Park, NY. Erin enjoys working with buyers and sellers throughout the Capital Region and strives to provide the best service possible to her clients. Erin received the HUNT Rising Star Award in 2016 and recently received a Listing Agent of the Month award. Visit Erin’s website and check out her reviews on Zillow.