Avoid Frozen Pipes this Winter by Taking these Precautions
The Wilmington area’s subzero winter temperatures and occasional storm-related power outages put your home at risk for frozen pipes. By planning ahead, you can protect your pipes from freezing and the damage it causes.
Button Up Your Home
Keeping the spaces around your pipes warm and draft-free goes a long way toward preventing frozen pipes. Use caulk and weatherstripping to seal air leaks in your basement and other unheated areas your pipes run through. Also insulate the basement rim joints.
Seal your crawl space with a polyethylene vapor barrier and rigid foam insulation. In addition to protecting your pipes, stopping air leaks reduces wasteful heat loss throughout your house.
When you plan to be away from the house, set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees. If you’ll be gone for a week or more, drain your plumbing before leaving.
Prepare Your Pipes
Remove your garden hoses from your outdoor sill cocks and place the hoses in storage. If your sill cocks don’t have frost-free knobs, turn off their water supply and drain the water to prevent freezing.
Install duct wrap or fiberglass batt insulation around pipes in unconditioned spaces. For pipes at higher risk of freezing, a pipe heating cable installed under thin insulation is a more effective option.
If you have a water meter pit, the lid should be in good condition and kept tightly closed. Snow insulates the water meter, so there’s no need to remove snow from the pit’s lid.
When you know the temperature will fall below zero, open your sink cabinet doors to let warm air in and turn on one or more taps to let a thin stream of water run.
While these precautions should prevent frozen pipes, if your pipes do freeze, call a licensed plumber. It’s easy to damage pipes by trying to thaw them yourself.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.