Winter weather in Grand Junction, CO, doesn’t just bring with it tons of snow and frost. It also causes water pipes to freeze and burst. A small leak can cause serious water damage if it’s not discovered in time. You need to protect the areas around your home and especially below-ground areas like the basement or crawl space.
Are Frozen Pipes Dangerous?
Frozen pipes aren’t just a nuisance that obstructs water flow around the home. They’re a major cause of water damage. Each year, they’re responsible for repairs that run into millions of dollars across the nation.
Freezing creates tremendous pressure inside the water pipes, especially if no one’s around to shut off the water. The right thing to do is to keep them warm enough so they won’t cool down to the freezing point.
How to Protect Your Water Pipes
Try out these simple measures to beat the cold.
Leave the Heat On
If you intend to travel for some time, make sure you turn on the heater. Set the thermostat at least 50° F. This way, they won’t freeze and burst. Pipes will stay warm while you’re away.
Turning the heater on may seem like an absurd thing to do, especially if you’re trying to keep utility costs down. But it’s going to help keep the pipes warm. Ignore this, and you could come back and find your carpets and belongings all soggy.
Let the Faucet Drip
If you feel a certain pipe will freeze, turn on the faucet that’s connected to that pipe slightly so water can drip. Leaving the faucet slightly open relieves the water pipe of pressure and prevents it from bursting. The idea behind this is to prevent blockage. If a single-handle faucet is fed by hot and cold water pipes, open the handle slightly.
Gaps and holes along the walls and floor, where the pipes run, can let in cold air. Seal them up with caulk. Start inside out. Make sure there are no holes as they can make the cabinet compartment a lot colder.
Leave the Doors Open
Some pipes run below cabinets. When temperatures start falling, open the cabinet door so heat from other parts of your house can warm up the pipes. Make sure all interior doors are open. This way, heat gets to travel around the house.
Apply Heating Tape
Like electric blankets, heating tapes supply heat to the water pipes, keeping them warm in winter. This solution works best for short pipes that are likely to freeze and are easily accessible.
Two types of heating tape exist. One type operates automatically while the other is manual. You have to plug it in when heating is required and unplug it when the weather warms up. Just like the space heater, these devices carry a risk element. You have to follow the maker’s direction and safety guidelines.
Insulate Exposed Areas
Your basement or crawl space and attic may have poorly insulated pipes. You will need to add extra insulation to these areas to keep the pipes they hold from freezing. Likewise, if you have had frozen pipes in other areas of your home, extra insulation can prevent a similar problem.
You can fit the water pipes with fiberglass sleeves or foam rubber. Both materials lower the risk of freezing. They’re suitable for pipes that are exposed. However, they can be costly if walls have to be opened. Once in place, the insulation maintains the temperatures of the pipe and the water that runs in it. The water won’t freeze even if the pipe stays exposed to the cold for long.
One misconception is that freezing pipes is an issue that affects homes in cold climates only. But the truth is that pipes that run through homes in warmer climates are likely to freeze in cold weather, as they’re either poorly insulated or located outdoors. Your concern should be the water supply lines and not the drainpipes.
If you’re worried that winter cold or water can damage your basement or crawl space, get in touch with the experts at Foundation Repair of Western Colorado. We’ll provide you with a free waterproofing inspection and quote along with recommendations to keep your home warm and pipes protected.