When the weather starts to get chilly in Colorado, we think of the autumn leaves in the Rocky Mountains and the holidays with family in the coming months. To make sure your home is comfortable and worry free through the entire winter, it would be beneficial to check out any pipes that are outdoors or in an area of the house that is prone to cold temperatures to make sure they are not in danger of freezing. If you do have some vulnerable piping in the house, then continue reading for tips on how to minimize the risk of freezing pipes and maximize the energy efficiency of your home.
Most Common Pipes that Freeze
The most vulnerable piping in your house is usually going to be outdoor lines such as sprinklers, also basements, garages and poorly insulated outer walls. Water can be trapped in these pipes during a cold snap, and as a result they can burst the pipe once the water freezes then expands and cause damage to your home. In the middle of winter a pipe bursting is surely the absolute last thing you want to deal with. But what can you do to protect your pipes?
Winterize your Sprinkler Lines
For outdoor sprinkler lines, you will want to ‘winterize’ them before the coldest part of the season really kicks off. To do this you will need to drain your sprinkler system of any excess water, so consult any literature you were given with the system to ensure the proper procedure is followed for evacuating the lines. Hose valves are another outdoor line to watch out for, so drain the actual hose of any water and then disconnect the hose and store for the winter. Hose valves will usually have a knob to close or open the valve, make sure the knob is set to open.
Insulate Vulnerable Pipes
Extra insulation is always a good idea in the seldom-used cold areas of the house. These areas are usually crawl spaces, basements, and attics. You can use either a hard insulation or a soft fiberglass material to fortify the existing insulation. Check the labeling on any current insulation to make sure when you are buying new insulation that the material will bolster the pre-existing energy efficient qualities. You can also insulate individual pipes using various kinds of insulating tape and pipe sleeves.
What to do if your Pipes Freeze
Sometimes, as prepared as we are for the winter with insulation, household heat, and proper airflow, pipes can still freeze. The first step if you find yourself in this situation is to locate where you believe the pipe froze and set up some heaters in the area to help the ice thaw and allow water to flow. If you are able to diagnose a pipe freeze quickly enough then you can shut off the main water supply to the house while the pipe is thawing out. If the water isn’t shut off in a timely manner then you risk the pipe bursting and causing flooding inside your home. To learn more tips on what to do if your pipes freeze, utilize the Red Cross Resource for Frozen Pipes here. For an inspection and a quote on any frozen pipe repairs or pipe upgrades give Jolly Plumbing and Heating a call!