Insulate Pipes and Protect Your Home
BRRRR! It is definitely winter in Charlotte, NC! We may not get much snow, but we do get hard freezes. Do you know what to do when that happens? Benjamin Franklin said in 1736, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and this saying definitely applies to our pipes today!
We all know water freezes, and if you have ever put a water bottle in the freezer, you know water expands when frozen. What many people don’t consider is that the same thing happens in your pipes as well. Whether you have the strongest, newest material available, or a regular PVC pipe, freezing water can cause a crack to form.
Some pipes are more likely to experience a crack than others, the most commonly frozen pipes are:
- Pipes that are exposed to cold air like outdoor hose spigots, sprinkler systems, and pool supply lines.
- Water supply lines in unheated areas of the home like basements, crawlspaces, garages, attics and even kitchen cabinets.
- Pipes that run against exterior walls with little or no insulation.
An ounce of prevention...How to Insulate and Protect Pipes
Even though it is already cold in Charlotte, NC, there is still time to prevent a frozen pipe this winter. Protecting your pipes may take more than leaving a faucet on overnight, follow these steps to protect your home:
- Drain water from any swimming pools and sprinkler supply lines. Follow manufacturer instructions to do this properly. Unless manufacturer instructions recommend it, avoid using antifreeze in any of these lines. Antifreeze is a harmful substance to humans, pets and the environment.
- Any hoses that are commonly stored outside should be drained and stored in a warmer area during the winter. Close all indoor supply valves to reduce water flow, and open any external valves to prevent any trapped water from freezing.
- Adding extra insulation to easy to reach areas like attics, crawlspaces, basements and garages can help prevent frozen pipes and lower heating and air costs for your home.
- Check your home for other areas where water supply lines may be in unheated areas. This may be under kitchen or bathroom sinks or behind washing machines. Both cold and hot water pipes should be insulated in these areas.
- One of the easiest ways to insulate these pipes is with “pipe sleeves” or heat insulating tape. These materials can be found at your local home improvement store and can be easily installed over the weekend.
- If you have exposed pipes in your home consider relocating them to more insulated areas.
Ok...what else can you do?
- Keep garage doors and crawlspace access closed as well as any other parts of your home that may have un-insulated pipes.
- Keeping kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open can allow warm air to reach the plumbing.
- If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time make sure heat is set to a minimum of 55o F. This might seem high, but even if your house is above freezing inside, your pipes could still be in danger of freezing if the outside temperature is below 20oF for at least six consecutive hours.
For more information on protecting your pipes from freezing visit the City of Charlotte Water website. If you notice an increased water bill after low temperatures you may have experienced a small crack. We recommend contacting your plumber to investigate as a small leak could cause significant damage if it continues to go undetected.
If you find a pipe has frozen or is leaking, please do not wait- call SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County immediately. We will help handle any water damage left behind for you!
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