Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. The American Red Cross provides information and suggestions around how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze.
Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the “strength” of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
Plumbers Racine is All American Plumbing Drains Cleaned. Serving the Racine area for over 25 years and dedicated to helping you with all your plumbing needs. The next time you need a plumber, feel free to call anytime 262-637-7420.
Do you have a clog in your drain that won’t unclog? There is a chance that your sewer line is clogged. The cost to have this fixed can be high, give us a call and we can take care of the problem at a price that won’t drain your wallet. We also have a patented tool that we have at our disposal that may cure the problem at a very, very reduced cost.
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Below is a list of things to think about for possible plumbing repairs/replacement for our customers in the Racine area.
Water heaters: The average life is seven to 14 years relative to use and water quality. If you do not have a thermal expansion tank on your heater, life expectancy can be reduced down to five years or less.
Garbage disposals: The average life is five to seven years. Sometimes a disposal will “tell” you when it’s getting ready to quit based on the noise made while running it. And sometimes it will start leaking without any warning.
Sump pumps: The average life is three to five years, but some have been known to be 12 years old and still running. A battery back-up system will let you run the primary pump until it dies, but that becomes an individual choice. Better to be proactive especially with a finished basement.
Sewage ejector pumps: For those that have finished basements with bathrooms, you will more than likely have a sewage ejector pump. Average life is seven to 10 years. However, feminine hygiene products can be a show stopper for any age pump.
Faucets: Longevity is really based on the quality of the faucet, hard or soft water, and the type of use that it gets. Most faucets can be repaired by replacing internal parts.
Toilets: Customers with older homes can have 60-year-old toilets. Not nearly as efficient as the toilets made today, but some people do not want to part with fixtures that are in keeping with the original architecture and design of the home. Most toilets need fill valves and flappers replaced every five to seven years.
Batteries for sump pump backup systems: The battery life can vary for the brand of system, but some can last up to 10 years by adding distilled water to the cell on an annual basis. Expect around five years as you would a car battery.
All American Plumbing Drains Cleaned is a Racine Plumberserving the Racine area for over 25 years and dedicated to helping you with all your plumbing needs. The next time you need a plumber, feel free to call anytime 262-637-7420.
Got an emergency Plumbing problem. Call us. Contractors are known to have set hours. You can’t count on a plumbing issue to occur between 9 and 5 during the week. When this happens, you will want your problem taken care of. All American Plumbing Drains Cleaned will be there for any Plumbing Emergency you have.