Prevent plumbing emergencies with these 7 tips
1. Keep faucets in cold areas dripping.
If you set your faucet to drip a little, it will keep the water moving through the pipes and prevent them from freezing. This probably isn’t a long-term solution because it does waste water. But it can at least keep your pipes safe until a plumber can make a more permanent fix.
2. Pipe insulation.
In areas of the home that aren’t heated, like the attic, garage and crawl space, pipes can be fitted with inexpensive pipe insulation that will protect those pipes in moderately cold weather. More extreme cold temperatures require thermostatically controlled heat tape, which will activate when the temperature drops too low.
3. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors.
This will allow warm air to circulate around the pipes, preventing them from freezing. This should also be done if you’re going on vacation during the winter as a precaution.
4. Set your thermostat to 55 degrees or higher when you’re away.
You don’t want your home to get too cold, even when you’re out of town.
5. Use a space heater.
If you have an area with unprotected pipes, you can use a space heater. The heat doesn’t need to be running full blast, just warm enough to prevent the pipes from freezing. This is more of a temporary solution until the pipes can be properly insulated.
6. Have someone check your house if you’ll be gone for the winter.
Nothing is worse than coming home to a flood because of a burst pipe. If possible, have a trusted neighbor, friend or family member check on your house every once in awhile, especially when the temperature really begins to drop.
7. Call your local plumber to inspect your home’s plumbing system.
A plumber can identify pipes that are in danger of freezing and recommend a permanent solution. Further, in a worst case scenario, a plumber can safely reroute pipes through your home to prevent freezing. While this is a costly, intrusive option, it will give you peace of mind knowing that your house won’t flood in the middle of winter.
The best way to deal with frozen pipes is to prevent them from freezing in the first place. Most of the items above are easy to do and relatively inexpensive. If you start tackling the problem now, then you can have some peace of mind over the winter.