Pipes freeze, crack and burst because as the water inside freezes, it expands and puts enormous pressure on the surrounding pipe until it finally gives way. Most often, this occurs in pipes subjected to bitter outdoor cold and unheated inside spaces, or pipes located next to uninsulated exterior walls. Here are some tips to avoid a cold weather plumbing emergency.
Before the winter season starts, safeguard your water supply lines.
Drain and store away outdoor garden hoses.
Drain swimming pool and water sprinkler system supply lines. (Do not put antifreeze into these lines.)
Wrap bare water pipes with a "pipe sleeve" or fit them with a UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable" or similar product.
Insulate both hot and cold water pipes that are located in unheated spaces.
Weigh the benefit of relocating exposed pipes that are subject to freezing.
Ensure adequate insulation in the attic, basement and crawl spaces.
In cold weather, you can sidestep frozen pipes and plumbing repairs by taking a few simple measures.
If your garage houses a water supply line, keep the doors closed.
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night.
Open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathrooms so that heated air can flow around plumbing.
During frigid cold snaps, allow water (a trickle) to drip from faucets to prevent pipes from freezing.
If you go out of town, keep the heat on and set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Frozen pipes in your home or business usually can be avoided with good protective and preventive efforts. Sometimes, despite the best precautions, a burst pipe can cause significant water damage to your property. If that happens, it's in your best interest to rely on plumbing professionals who have the tools, training and expertise to put things to right.