The onset of winter brings with it cooler temperatures. These cooler temperatures along with poor protection against the elements, is the leading cause of frozen pipes thus leading to a burst pipe and the need of plumbing services. There are several steps that can be taken to protect pipes from freezing.
Pipes in unheated areas such as the garage, attic, basement and crawl spaces should be insulated. To do this wrap all exposed areas of the pipe with insulating tape or a moulded pipe sleeve. Make sure to also cover all pipe fittings, spigots and values with insulating tape. If there is a continual problem with frozen pipes, leave a value open by letting a light stream of water continue to flow from the faucet furthest from the street. However this is a waste of water so only use a minimal stream and only does so for pipes that run through unheated areas. If the problem continues place the light from a heat lamp towards the pipe in the area that most often freezes.
To protect from outdoors disconnect garden hoses and if possible shut off the outside water line, then drain the pipe by turning on the outside spigot until the flow of water stops. If this is not possible wrap outside spigots with moulded foam insulating cover or fibreglass. In a pinch wrap the spigot in newspaper or rags, then cover with plastic and secure with insulating tape. Caulking around outside pipes and sealing foundation vents with wood or foam blocks is another good way to protect against the elements and an unwanted plumber bill. There are also electrical heating tapes and cables that can be run along water pipes to help prevent water from freezing within the line. However these must be used properly to protect against fire, so when in doubt call a plumber in to check that the pipes are safe for use of these products as well as for advice on how to run them.
If the house will be unoccupied for an extended period of time during winter months, it is a good idea to shut off and drain the water system prior to leaving to prevent frozen pipes. To do this simply turn off the main shut off value, then turn on all the faucets throughout the house. Leave the faucets on until all the water is drained from the pipes, then it is alright to turn them off. If the house will only be unoccupied for a day or two, leave the furnace on low and open all of cupboard doors where water lines are located.
If there is a pipe is suspected to be frozen, do not take any chances, and call a plumber immediately. In the case of a burst pipe shut off the nearest shut off valve, if there is not an isolated valve for that area of piping, shut off the main valve. Call someone offering emergency plumbing services immediately. Failure to do so could result in greater costs and damage.
If you do not protect your homes pipe work against the elements, it can cause frozen pipes thus leading to a burst pipe and then the need of a plumbing companies services, which can be expensive depending on the size of the damage.
Mister Plumber specializing in Toronto, ON sewer repair, drain cleaning, and emergency plumbing, Mr. Plumber uses the latest technology to effectively troubleshoot and quickly repair any plumbing problem and offers a fast response and free estimates. Call us 416 939 1530 or fill the form for Online Free Estimate.