A frozen pipe can potentially burst and the result can be flooding, damaged carpet and furniture, and possibly even rot and mold. Fortunately, you can avoid these with some simple precautions that will ensure you get through winter safely without any plumbing disasters.
Let’s face it, chances are there’s been one or two times when you have turned down the thermostat and left the house for a few days. The weather was probably late autumn and was looking ok when you left, but then while you were away the weather changed and it shot down to freezing. If you were lucky, you did not come home to a frozen pipe disaster.
A broken pipe can make a huge mess and destroy not only furniture and carpet, but can also cause rot and mold as the water dissipates through the floors and walls. There are a few steps you can take to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. First, insulate exposed pipes – especially the ones under the house. This will not only help you stave off a flooding disaster, but will also save you significant amounts of money in lost heat from the pipes.
If you live in an area where it is frequently below freezing, over the winter, it’s a good idea to empty your irrigation system and hose and coil up your hose and hang it up. Easy enough to empty your hose, but your irrigation system may be more problematic. Some systems have a draining mechanism, and if you know you’re going to have to drain it, this is an important consideration before buying it.
Inside, it is a good idea to always leave a tap dripping slowly (moving water is much harder to freeze that standing water). If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time and the weather will go below freezing, you can also take the extreme measure of draining the water from your pipes. However, 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 opens the valve only 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 to all your fixtures.
If your pipes are already frozen, you can use a heater or a hair dryer to warm them. Get buckets and towels ready…the integrity of your pipes could have been compromised by the expanding frozen water and melting the frozen water may reveal leaks in your plumbing.