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Avoid Frozen Water Lines

Winter is here again. We knew it was coming, but some of us may have been in denial. Hopefully, you are prepared and have weatherized your home.

I know I posted this article last winter, but it’s still good advice. Frozen water lines are a huge hassle. So, please enjoy this revisit of how to keep them from freezing.

Water lines freezing is a big problem when it gets cold like this. There are some things you can do to keep them from freezing and possibly bursting. The simplest and most effective way to keep water lines from freezing is to drip your water if the temperature is too low. Just a small drip will do. You want to keep the water moving through the pipes so it won’t have a chance to freeze.

I drip mine in each sink and shower or bathtub once the temperature falls below 30 degrees. Conventional wisdom says 20 degrees is when pipes freeze, but if water freezes at 32 degrees, I would rather be safe than sorry.

Your crawlspace will offer a little protection, but probably not much. It depends on how insulated your crawlspace is. When water freezes, it expands. Water lines can only hold so much and often burst from the pressure when they freeze.

Wrapping your pipes is a great preventive measure you can take to avoid disaster. Pipe wrap, also called tubular pipe insulation, is readily available at your local hardware or home goods store. It’s inexpensive and easy to install. Well, you do have to get under the house to the pipes to install it, and that isn’t always easy.

The pipe wrap we use at work is a 6 foot foam tube with a slit running full length of it. All you do is slip the foam around your pipes. It can be cut to size with a box knife or scissors. You can buy pipe wrap in the shape of tees and elbows for full coverage. There’s also tape you can buy to wrap around your water lines, but it’s more labor intensive to install.

An important thing that many people overlook in winter is their foundation vents. While it’s good to have them open during the summer to reduce moisture, they need to be closed in the wintertime. You don’t want that frigid air blowing through your crawlspace making your floors cold and freezing your pipes.

I hope this little seed of wisdom has been helpful. Stay warm, safe, and healthy, my friends!

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