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How to Prevent Pipe Freezes

January 18, 2022 | Blog

Freezing temperatures not only cause physical discomfort for people, but they can also cause your pipes to burst or freeze up, resulting in expensive property damage. Most pipe freezes occur in unheated areas in your home, such as the basement, attic, and garage. If you’re in need of pipe repairs or other plumbing maintenance, consider Public Service Plumbers for quality service!

Read on for tips and tricks on spotting and preventing frozen pipes.

Self-Regulating Heat Tape

This kind of tape automatically adjusts the heat it releases based on the outdoor temperature. If the temperature is at or below freezing, the tape will emit heat. If it is above freezing, the tape is inactive. You can purchase these cables in hardware and home improvement stores. Be sure to buy a connection kit with an end plug and an outlet.

How to Install and Use Heat Tape

Heat tape kits have pre-attached end plugs and a power indicator light that lets you know when the heat is activated. You can buy heat tapes at lengths ranging from three to one hundred feet. It also features a built-in thermostat that turns the tape on and off when necessary.

  • Make sure the tape you buy works with your water lines. Most tapes work with both metal and plastic pipes, but be sure to choose the tape that works best for your setup.
  • Measure your exterior plumbing pipes before you buy.
  • Install the tape according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You may only need to attach the tape to the underside of the pipe, or you may need to wrap the tape around the pipe in a spiral fashion.

Seal Leaks

To prevent cold air from affecting your pipes, seal all leaks around the electrical wiring, pipes, and dryer vents with caulk or some other form of insulation. This is a relatively easy way to prevent frozen pipes and water leaks.

Keep your Thermostat at the same Temperature

Make sure you keep your thermostat at the same temperature throughout the day and night. It also prevents your furnace from being overworked during freezing temperatures.

Open and Close your Doors

Keep your garage door closed during the winter, especially if exposed pipes are in that area, and keep kitchen and cabinet doors open so that heat can reach the plumbing. This is especially important if you have exterior pipes.

Signs of Leaking or Cracked Plumbing

Leaks often result in mold and mildew. The mold leaves stains on your walls, while the mildew creates a musty smell in your home. Mold can travel through your vents, destroy your possessions and negatively affect your health.

  • A hissing or whooshing sound coming from faucets, toilets, or taps that are off. More often than not, this is an indication of leaky plumbing
  • Greener or overgrown patches of grass – this could mean a water leak under the patches of grass
    • Outside leaks are no less damaging than inside leaks because wet patches can harvest bacteria, which can destroy the rest of your lawn
  •  Peeling wallpaper, wet carpet, spongy walls, and uneven floors
  • Lower water pressure
    • If there is a leak, faucets, shower heads, and toilet bowls will release less forceful streams of water. This will be inconvenient when washing dishes, laundry, and other household chores involving water use.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • Use a heating source such as a space heater, hot towel, or hairdryer to specific pipe sections.
    • While heating the pipe, turn on the faucet so water can flow through the pipe and melt the ice.
  • Heat pipes until the water pressure is back to normal. Also, check all the faucets in your home to ensure no additional frozen pipes.

How to Stop Cracked Plumbing

You can use pipe clamps on exposed pipes that are in your reach. This is a temporary method until you can contact a professional. The clamps are easy to attach to pipes and sturdy enough to keep your pipes intact. You can find these items at home improvement stores, auto shops, and plumbing supply companies.

Silicone repair tape is a necessity that all homeowners should keep handy. It works best at sealing small cracks and leaks. It is easily applied by pressing the tape on top of the hole or crack. This is another temporary solution – the tape typically lasts a couple of days until a plumber can repair the issue.

  • Ideal for joint and pinhole leaks, plumbing repair sleeves are applied after the water is off and pipe clamps are attached.

Remember, the above options only serve as temporary aides until a plumber can inspect and repair your pipes. Contact us for quality and expert service!

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