Winter cold spells are inevitable, even as far south as Georgia. Thankfully, freezing temperatures don’t last for extended periods. Regardless, taking necessary precautions to keep your pipes from freezing is the only way to make sure you do not have to clean up an ugly mess from broken pipes. Below are seven ways to help protect your pipes and home. Using these methods, you can develop the perfect winterizing plan for your home, and prevent serious damage to your home.
1. Drip the Water
Atlanta and Marietta might not see many winter days or nights well below freezing, but there are enough to concern yourself about pipes exposed to the elements. One of the easiest tricks to keep your pipes from freezing up is to keep water on the move. Turn all of your cold taps on until there is a drip, or small trickle of water coming out at a steady pace. Dripping water might raise your water bill a slight bit, but it is less expensive than fixing a bunch of busted water pipes, and the resulting damage to your home. You can stop this once the temperatures and wind chill climb above freezing.
2. Apply Heat Tape
An inexpensive method to keep your pipes from freezing is to apply a length of heat tape to the outside surface of the water line that brings water up into your home. Completing this task will involve locating the right pipe down in the basement or under the house. Purchase some heat tape from your local hardware store, wrap the pipe snugly, and plug the heat tape into an outlet. The heat emitted will keep your water pipe well above freezing temperatures.
3. Open Cabinets and Closet Doors
Unless you live in a small apartment, most of your water pipes will not be readily visible. You can typically find them behind cabinet and closet doors. The water lines under your kitchen cabinets might contain more than just the supply that feeds your sink. The lines for dishwashers and ice-makers can run from there as well. Closets are the main areas you will generally find water heaters. Keep all of these doors open when temperatures drop below freezing. The warmer ambient air of the home will circulate through and keep the pipes from freezing.
4. Insulate Areas Where Pipes Run
The location of most water pipes is in areas of the home that are cold, damp, and poorly insulated. Spend a little extra money on some insulation and take the time to protect the basement, attic, or crawlspace against the freezing temperatures. It will keep your pipes from freezing and lower your energy bills simultaneously. It is a complete win-win situation. The great thing about the Atlanta area is the insulation does not have to be as robust as in a much colder area like Alaska. A little bit of quality insulation from your local hardware store will go a long way in the milder winter climate.
5. Keep the Heat On
The perfect time to take vacation is when the cold winter weather strikes. But don’t forget to stop and think about your pipes before heading out on a get-away. Turning the heat down too low, or off altogether, will lead to a mess of burst pipes and water damage when you arrive back home. You can move the heat down a few notches, but try and keep it at a comfortable 60 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit while away. It will minimize your energy bill and keep your pipes from freezing.
6. Seal Out Cold with Caulking
Cracks around basement windows, vents, and siding all let cold air funnel directly into areas that contain water pipes. Weatherproof by using a little silicone caulk. It is waterproof and will eliminate the cold air, which in turn keeps the pipes from freezing and lowers your heating bill. Carefully inspect the areas where water lines run to outside spigots. Caulk any holes around the pipe, then shield the spigots with a pipe sock or foam cover from your local hardware store.
7. Eliminate Drafts
Pipes are likely to freeze faster when there is cold air moving over the surface. Windchill is one of your biggest enemies when combating winter weather. Cover the insides of windows with plastic sheeting if you feel drafts. Cover pipes under the house with insulation sleeves that will eliminate direct contact with the cold winds. Trailer and modular homes are at a higher risk of windchill freeze of pipes, due to the thin skirting that surrounds the underside of the structure. Make sure this material is intact, and there are no openings for easy access by harsh winds.
Follow these tips and you will be certain to protect your home against the abuse of the elements! However, if you do have a water damage emergency, call on the professionals of Restor-It to help get the problem under control in a hurry. Servicing the entire Atlanta and Marietta area, help is only a phone call away!