How to Prevent Your Pipes from Bursting

It seems like there are so many things to remember going into the winter season: holiday shopping, school breaks, family get-togethers, and countless other distractions. Remembering to make sure your pipes don’t freeze yearly is not just a cost-saving measure, but a preventative one as well. Prevent your pipes from bursting this holiday season by following these helpful tips from National Property Inspections.

The Issue

When the temperature drops, pipes are likely to freeze if they are not properly insulated. This eventually ends up slowing the flow of water, gradually expanding and causing the pipe to burst. If you don’t want a flood on your hands, it is important to have your pipes inspected regularly by a professional to ensure they are being insulated properly. National Property Inspections can easily detect and help prevent these incidents from happening well before the cold season sets in.

The most common pipes that burst in the cold are exposed to severe temperatures such as outdoor hoses, swimming pool supply lines, and sprinkler lines. While these may seem like the only culprits to tackle, it is also important to remember the indoor pipes as well. Pipes that are susceptible to freezing include basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, kitchen cabinets and any others that may run along an exterior wall. Since interior pipes are often located in cabinets, it is generally a good idea to leave their doors open during winter months to allow warm air to circulate.

Prevention

Before the first big freeze, remove and bring all outdoor hoses inside to prevent any water damage. Although it would seem unlikely, the amount water expands can cause irreparable damage to hoses and pipelines if they are not properly stored and insulated. Be sure to drain them of any excess water so as not to bring any mess indoors. To prevent pipes from bursting, a pipe sleeve or heating cable can help to insulate any exposed water pipes. Heating cables are particularly efficient because they automatically adjust to the appropriate heat as temperatures change. Another option is to relocate any exposed pipes entirely, which would increase heat flow and prevent pipes from bursting entirely. If you are unsure as to which option is right for you, call a National Property Inspections near you for a helping hand.

Although conservation is key to saving on utilities, sometimes allowing a bit of water to drip from the faucet can make a world of difference when the temperature drops. If any faucet is connected to freezing pipes, this slight trickle can help control the expansion and damage of pipes if they are at all at risk. If you go away on vacation during the winter, resist the urge to turn the heater off completely. To prevent coming home to a flood, keep the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.

What If they Freeze?

If your pipes do happen to freeze, don’t panic. You may be able to tell if this is happening if you turn on a faucet and it only drips. Keep the tap open and continue running water through the pipe to help it thaw, and if there are exposed pipes, try to heat them with towels soaked in hot water, a portable space heater, or a dryer. NEVER use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any other open flame.

National Property Inspections is always a great resource to help make sure your pipes don’t freeze during the winter. Contact your local inspector for more information on how you can prepare your particular home for the cold.

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