Hold that thought.
Did you disconnect your hoses from your exterior water spigots? One of the most common reasons for burst water pipes is the hose you forgot to disconnect before the temperatures dropped. You watch the daytime high temps, but make certain you check the nighttime low temps. Water left in the spigots at the exterior of the home can freeze, burst, and quickly flood your interior.
Other exterior areas often left out of sight and out of mind include your crawlspace, your attic, and your garage. If you have plumbing pipes in these areas, you better have them winterized or properly insulated. They actually make a heated tape that can be wrapped around plumbing pipes in extreme climates to ensure they do not freeze. Close off those crawlspace vents that were opened in the summer to allow air exchange to reduce moisture and mold. Your concern now is to retain heat in the crawlspace.
Plumbing pipes exposed to the outside of your home are not the only pipes in jeopardy. You heat the interior of your home, but not all areas receive equal heating. What about interior areas that are shut off from your heat source? On extremely cold days, the plumbing pipes under your sink can be subjected to much colder temperatures than the space outside the cabinets. Consider leaving your cabinet doors open during these extremes to allow the hidden pipes to receive appropriate heat.
Exterior walls adjacent to finished living space are required to be insulated. Pipes in those walls should also be insulated, but gaps in the insulation can leave those areas at risk for freezing in the colder seasons. Unfortunately, you may only learn of these problem areas after a frozen pipe actually bursts and floods your wall and interior.
If you vacate a home during colder seasons, it would be wise to shut off the water and properly winterize your plumbing system and irrigations systems to eliminate the possibility of frozen and burst pipes. There are several steps in the process, and companies can be hired to complete the process if you are not confident with your ability to do so.
Pipes burst because they freeze. So, if arctic weather is headed your way, you’ll need to really watch out for some of the common ways pipes get too cold.
Our neighbors had a flooded basement every year because their outside spigot faced east and received very little sun. It would freeze and then burst, sending water pouring into their basement. Finally, they started using a shut off valve to that spigot and then draining the water out of it.
If you have a crawl space, make sure vents are closed during cold weather. Cold weather is one thing, but the wind will make matters much worse. If you can keep airflow down, there’s less of a risk your pipes will burst.
If the weather turns extremely cold, pipes can freeze even in your heated house. Small rooms, like bathrooms on exterior walls and especially corners of your house, are at the greatest risk. You may need to run a space heater in those places that get the coldest to prevent frozen pipes.
If you live in an older house with pipes that have never been replaced, I recommend either doing so or properly insulating them before the cold weather kicks in to avoid costly problems.
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