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Keeping Your Water Lines from Freezing

My area was spared the ice and snow from the winter storm that caused so much havoc over the weekend. We had heavy rain on Friday and a dusting of snow on Saturday. Actually, to call it a dusting is generous. What we had was more like a pinch of snow. It wasn’t even enough to cover the blades of grass in my yard. I’m not complaining, though.

We did suffer from extreme cold over the weekend. It got down to 12 degrees here. The bitterly cold temperature made me think about a piece of wisdom that I often take for granted, but many others don’t seem to know. I can’t tell you how many have come to me and lamented, “My water lines froze and burst!”

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, you do the math. Your crawl space will offer a little protection, but not much. 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 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. 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. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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