As one of the coldest winters in recent history lingers, our homes and properties including our plumbing become subject to exposure of harsh elements. Its these harsh elements and lack of maintenance that usually cause emergencies in our homes. Freezing pipes and related problems are caused by water within the pipe freezing and then expanding inside the pipe, causing it to burst.
Like all emergencies, bursting of frozen pipes rarely come at a convenient time and is usually a disaster we find in the morning after the freezing nights in our robe and slippers, yes even before coffee. Freezing pipes not only cause headaches but usually result in property damage, loss of massive amounts of water (enough to fill a small pool in a day!) and if gone unnoticed mold and mildew creating uninhabitable situations.
The good news is there are a few different ways to help prevent freezing:
1. Insulation of exposed piping:
Using wrapping on exposed piping can reduce the chance of your most exposed piping freezing and bursting. There are many types of wrapping that can be used (usually available at any hardware store).
2. Backflow Prevention Devices:
Backflows are a common place for bursting to occur since they are usually very exposed to the elements. Backflow freeze protection bags are available for a nominal cost.
3. Water Movement:
Any water that can be moved makes freezing in your pipes that much less likely. So waking up to get a glass of water in the middle of the night can actually prevent a bit more than dehydration. Also flushing the toilet can do the same. Some people have had their hose bibs open just enough to get a drip every few seconds and this can help water move continually.
New innovative technology offered by the Hot Water Lobster Instant Hot Water Valve is easy to install (not requiring pipe cutting or electrical wiring) and a great pipe freezing prevention aid. Installed at the plumbing fixture at the end of the “at risk plumbing run” (pipes most likely to freeze), will allow water to flow from your water heater-through the existing hot water pipe in the “at risk plumbing run”-to the recirculation valve. From the recirculation valve the water will continue back to the water heater (for reheating)-through the cold water pipe in the “at risk plumbing run”. The system contains a sensor, which only opens the valve when the water temperature drops below the adjustable temperature setting. This open loop of water circulation keeps temped water circulating through the “at risk plumbing run” without wasting water while also providing faster hot water.
These are a few different ways you can have a little piece of mind this winter and hopefully save money and time! Remember the main ideas are to protect exposed piping and to keep water moving as often as possible.