Winter is the season for scenic snowfalls, warm fires, family gatherings, and -- unfortunately -- frozen pipes. Plumbers and insurance adjusters are getting ready for a busy season helping families in need after the water inside their plumbing system freezes, swells, and bursts the pipes, causing potentially catastrophic plumbing leaks. But take heed -- the best way to deal with frozen pipes is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Read on for tips on insulating your plumbing system so you can enjoy the winter without worrying about a damaging and expensive flood.
Outdoor Pipes Exposed to Plumbing Leaks
In some ways, household plumbing systems have a lot in common with the residents of the home -- both need the comfort and warmth of the home heating system to make it through a cold winter. That means that any pipes that are safely inside the heated areas of your home won't be in danger of freezing, as long as the furnace is operating properly.
The pipes you do have to be concerned about are those that are outside, near exposed walls, or in parts of the home that aren't heated well. The plumbing in your attic or basement could be at risk, as well as connections to wells, cisterns and irrigation systems. In some homes, the main water supply line could actually be in danger as well if it comes above ground before entering the home.
Ample Insulation to Prevent a Flood
Once you've identified the vulnerable parts of your plumbing system, your task is to insulate them before the temperatures become too frigid. There are a variety of options at your disposal, depending on how cold it gets in your region of the country and how exposed the pipes are. The simplest way forward is to simply wrap the pipes in newspaper. This might work for plumbing in the basement or attic or other indoor areas that receive some heating.
For pipes that receive greater exposure to the cold, however, it's better to get a product designed specially for plumbing. Foam tubing can fit easily around your pipes and provide a decent layer of protection. In colder areas, you may want to opt for special heated tape to ensure that the pipes stay above the critical freezing point. If you have a water cistern on your roof or in the attic, you can purchase specific insulating kits that will fit over the structures while allowing heat to come up from below.
Experienced Professionals Can Repair the Plumbing Leaks
If you need help insulating your pipes this winter, or if you need emergency plumbing leak repairs due to frozen pipes, contact a qualified plumber without delay.