Winter in areas like Anacortes, WA, includes icy weather that can affect a home’s plumbing. Pipes may freeze and burst, flooding a home and resulting in thousands of dollars in damages. While there is no way to avoid some impacts of cold weather, it is often possible to prevent pipes from bursting.
Protecting pipes to keep them from freezing is the most straightforward and least expensive plan. As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Homeowners should also be able to recognize frozen pipes and know how to thaw them without causing additional damage.
Prepare Pipes for Freezing Weather
Professionals such as those from LaVergne’s Plumbing can provide Anacortes, Washington, clients with tips on avoiding burst pipes by winterizing them. Plumbers recommend preventative measures that include:
- Insulating pipes. Exposed pipes are in the most danger of freezing, but insulating them can help prevent the problem. The more heavily insulated pipes are, the less likely they are to freeze.
- Wrap pipes in heat cables or tape. Use only products tested by organizations like Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., and carefully follow manufacturers’ directions.
- Secure exterior hoses, valves, and faucets. Disconnecting hoses, draining the water from them, and shutting off outdoor water supplies minimizes the chances of frozen pipes.
- Seal leaks that could allow cold air in. Use insulation or caulking to protect pipes from freezing temperatures.
- Let some water drip from taps. Sometimes, just a trickle of cold or hot water can prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Open cabinet doors to allow heated air to warm under sink pipes.
- Set the home thermostat at the same temperature 24-hours a day to help protect pipes and reduce strain on the heating system.
Safeguard Pipes If You’re Away from Home
Insurance professionals like those at State Farm suggest that you winterize your home to minimize the chances of frozen or bursting pipes, and precautions are especially critical if you plan to be away from home. If a pipe bursts when you are not there, it could cause costly damage to the home’s interior. The Pipe repair alone is likely to be quite expensive.
It is critical to ensure that the thermostat is set no lower than 55 degrees, and be sure to replace its battery before leaving. If possible, ask a friend or neighbor to check the house from time to time to ensure it is warm enough. You should also shut off the water. Note that, if a home includes a fire protection sprinkler system, shutting off the water may deactivate it.
Invest in Smart Technology to Protect Pipes
Most people think of TVs, vacuums, and even devices like Alexa when they hear the term “smart technology.” But, it is also possible to use a smart device to protect home pipes from freezing and bursting.
Websites like Per Realhomes.com, recommend Grohe intelligent sensors that can monitor changes in humidity, allowing them to detect leaks. Devices can identify leaks in crucial areas near appliances, under sinks, and in bathrooms. Owners can turn off their water remotely via a smartphone when one of the sensors is added to the main water pipe. Sensors may also be programmed to detect burst pipes and automatically shut off the water supply.
Learn to Recognize Signs of Frozen Pipes
If home pipes freeze and then burst, it is essential to take steps that minimize problems. The first step is to recognize that pipes have burst. Indicators include:
- Drains or taps give off an unpleasant odor
- Water is just trickling from taps
- Frost has formed on the outside of pipes
- When boiler pipes freeze, there is often a gurgling sound and an error message. Always get professional help quickly when this happens.
Thaw Frozen Pipes Carefully
Anacortes homeowners should call a plumber to deal with frozen or burst pipes when possible. Experts have the tools and experience to handle Frozen pipe repair efficiently and can protect your home from further harm. If you must deal with the problem yourself, it is essential to proceed carefully.
The first thing to do is turn off the water at the mains since this minimizes water flow. A shutoff valve may be located close to a water meter, under a kitchen cabinet, or even in the bathroom in an older home.
The next step is warming the pipes. There are various ways you can use warm water to do this. Never use boiling water since it can crack a pipe. A hot water bottle filled with warm to hot water can be tied to the frozen section of the pipe. You can also pour a container of warm over a pipe to melt the ice. A towel or face flannel may be soaked in warm water and then wrapped around a pipe, but it must be refreshed regularly.
A hairdryer can also help to thaw pipes, but it’s critical to keep the dryer away from water. Also, do not allow the pipe to get too hot since excessive heat may cause cracking.
Warming up the room can help. While it’s not always possible to turn on the heating system if pipes are frozen, a space heater can be effective.
Before turning the heat back on, ensure the boiler is working safely. Also, check for leaks. If all is well, then turn the water supply back on. Run the taps and the heater to be sure there are no issues.
Make Sure Insurance Covers Burst Pipes
Sometimes, frozen or burst pipes can lead to home damage even when owners have taken precautions. Unfortunately, homeowners’ insurance doesn’t automatically cover the issue, so it is a good idea to check insurance before the winter sets in. Freezing or burst pipes can require costly repairs, so it’s wise to have coverage.
In areas like Anacortes, WA, it is common for home pipes to freeze and burst, but the problem is preventable. Steps like insulating and wrapping pipes, sealing water leaks, shutting off exterior water valves, and ensuring homes do not get too cold can all help. If pipes do freeze or burst, it is best to call an experienced plumber. When that is not possible, homeowners can take steps to thaw pipes.
LaVergne’s Plumbing and Heating provides 24-hour emergency service to Anacortes, WA, and surrounding areas. Our team of professionals can help with all plumbing problems, including frozen or burst pipes. Our experienced plumbers always quote the job before they begin working.