Protecting your home’s plumbing system
Protecting your home’s plumbing system from freezing in winter does not have to be difficult. There are many things that you can do as a homeowner that are not expensive or difficult. You can also work with a licensed contractor if you need additional assistance.
Simple foam insulation is the first step you should take. It is an easy project. Most building supply stores sell fitted foam pieces in a variety of lengths. These pieces have a split down the middle and you simply slide it over exposed plumbing pipe. You can tape it into place but it is usually not necessary.
If you home is located in an area with extremely cold winter temperatures there are additional steps that are also not very costly. Heating tape is available that is reasonable simple to install. The tape is run down the length of the pipe, or wrapped around it in loops. When purchased with a temperature-sensing unit the tape will only heat up when a set temperature is reached. Very little electricity will be used when the heating tape is not operating.
Other steps can be taken if you are faced with a power failure or sudden extremely cold temperatures. Open all cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom to allow warmer air to circulate to the plumbing inside the cabinets. You may even want to wrap the pipes in towels to add a bit of warmth.
Another option is to leave one or two faucets in your home dripping slightly. This is not the best method for any extended periods, as you will be wasting water. You might want to catch the dripping water in a container for re-use. As long as a little water is running through your plumbing system, the pipes should not freeze completely.