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Frozen Pipe Prevention

October 9th, 2012 · No Comments

Every year thousands of homes are faced with damage and disruption of everyday life due to water pipes that freeze and burst.

While some water lines may seem small, the  aftermath of water damage left behind can be larger than imagined.  A quarter inch ice maker line can produce 1/2 to 1 gallon every minute.  A 3/8 inch supply line on a toilet or sink can produce  2 to 3 gallons per minute.  And last but not least, a 5/8 inch garden hose or washing machine hose will produce 10 to 12 gallons per minute… and in 24 hours you have a swimming pool in your home.

So what can you do before the cold hits or even after it turns cold?  Here are a few tips that will keep you from getting  “iced”.

Insulation— check the quality and levels of insulation in the areas that pipes run in your home.  Compacted or wet insulation looses R-value and should be replaced.  Pipe wraps can successfully insulate pipes in wide open spaces.

Fill Gaps—A good exterior caulk or foam insulation can fill the gaps in siding, walls, etc. where cold air may blow into the structure and cause freezing to occur.  Remember that the wind can drive cold air to areas of your home that are not normally affected.

Remove Hoses—garden hoses attached to the exterior of your home should be removed in the Fall.  Fix any drips that outside faucets may have and shut off the valve inside that feeds your outdoor faucet if your home is so equipped.  If you turn the exterior faucet on and then off, water should continue to flow for a couple seconds.  If it doesn’t or you hear hissing inside the wall, you may want to have a plumber check the pipes for leaks.

Heat Tape—In known problem areas use  heat tape that is approved by third parties for the interior or exterior situation that  exists.

Open Doors—Leave all cabinet doors open under sinks in areas that are subject to lower than normal temperatures.

Heat—If you choose to leave an area of your home cooler to save energy, do not set the thermostat below 55 degrees and leave doors to rooms and closets open .

Vacation—Ask a neighbor to check you home every couple days.


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