SPRINGFIELD, Mon. (KY3) –
You may never have worried about the water pipes in your home freezing or bursting in the past.
However, with the Ozarks recording record lows in sub-zero temperatures, this is the right time to take this into account.
The fact is that the pipes in your home or business can freeze anytime the temperature drops below 20 degrees. This is of course not a hard and fast rule as the risk of freezing in your pipes is dependent on many factors that depend on the ability of the cold air to reach parts of your water system.
Given the temperatures the region is grappling with this week, there is no doubt our pipelines are being scrutinized. So the best thing to do is to think about what you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing and / or bursting as the plumbers already have their hands full.
Rich Callahan, general manager of All-Service Professional Plumbing in Springfield, said his store was already overcrowded before Monday’s worst snowfall.
“I have 50 employees and almost all of them worked after 3am last night,” he said. “We are well booked.”
In the case of flooding from burst pipes, 37 percent of these incidents occur in basements.
“Basements have flood problems because a lot of them are in unconditioned rooms and you have this cold down there,” Callahan said. “And for a long time there is no sewer running into these areas and the concrete outer walls get really cold. They also tend to freeze. Again we have a lot of what we call “crawlspace houses” where the sewer work is under the house and if you let the heat run there will be natural leaks from your sewer work which will give off some heat under your house, to keep the tubes from freezing. But if your system is in the attic and your plumbing is in the creep area, your pipes will freeze up much faster. “
Here are some ways to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting:
1.) Insulate your pipes
2.) Keep garage doors closed, especially if your water supply runs through the garage
3.) Keep your cabinets in open places to allow the heated air to circulate
4.) Let the faucets drip, as running water is harder to freeze than stagnant water
5.) Keep the thermostat constant and leave the heating on, as constant temperatures (over 55 degrees) protect your pipes
6.) Seal cracks and openings in walls, floors, etc. that can create drafts
7.) Open the interior doors as most houses have uneven heat distribution
8.) Cover ventilated crawl spaces
9.) Attach a heating tape to a pipe to retain the heat
Callahan pointed out that the main cause of your home’s vulnerability to the water system is the insulation of the home.
“Insulation is the most important thing you can do for your home when it comes to energy efficiency and prevents pipes from freezing and bursting,” he said.
This also includes the insulation of your pipes.
“If you have a lot of exposed plumbing or the plumbing is near the outside of the house under a crawl space, you can get foam insulation that will fit around your pipes,” Callahan said. “I particularly recommend this if you have a tendency to have frozen pipes. We also have issues with condensation lines for high efficiency ovens or drain lines that freeze and cause the ovens to shut down. There is a heat tape for this, an electrical strip that runs along your water pipes to keep them above freezing. ”
Callahan admitted that a lot of people don’t like running their faucets with a trickle to keep the pipes from freezing. However, he points out that a slightly higher water bill is far preferable to damaging a house with burst pipes. For this reason, he recommends running more than one faucet, especially the ones furthest from your main water supply.
“Sometimes you have to realize that the water pipes come in the middle of your house and you have a branch that goes both ways,” he said. “So you can have two most distant points.”
If your pipes are freezing and you can tell they haven’t burst yet, there are some pros and cons in trying to break them out.
“You can have space heaters, extra heat, in there with all the cabinets open,” he said. “You can use a fall light that shines on the pipes. We do not recommend using hair dryers or heat guns. Heat guns use such a high temperature that the piping systems are damaged and the piping can actually melt. “
There are also things you should do when that cold spell wears off.
“While we’re thawing, it’s very important to go around your house and see if you can hear the water running with all the faucets to make sure you don’t have a water leak that is going to cause great damage,” Callahan testified. “We already have many calls from homes that are completely frozen where they can no longer use their water and these are the ones we are concerned about after thawing. What will happen until the water damage? “
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