If you live in an area of North Carolina or South Carolina where temperatures tend to get below freezing in the wintertime, there is always a chance that your home’s pipes could freeze. While this issue doesn’t always cause long term damage, it can cause pipes to weaken and ultimately burst. This is something no homeowner wants to contend with!
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your interior pipes from freezing all winter long. You will learn about some of these things as you continue reading this guide. Depending on how old your home is and how much it’s been renovated, you might not need to do everything outlined here.
Check the right spaces
Certain areas of your home are more at risk for frozen pipes than others. When you are taking preventative action, it is important to look in the right areas. Any pipes in exterior walls are, of course, at high risk because they have very little protecting them from the elements. These include pipes underneath sinks that are situated below windows and pipes that run to showers and baths that sit next to outside walls. You also need to make sure pipes that are located in your attic and basement or crawl space are properly protected.
Invest in pipe foam
Foam pipe insulation is inexpensive and can be purchased at almost any hardware store or big box store. This material is designed to wrap around pipes, keeping them insulated from the cold. If you live in an area of the Carolinas that rarely gets below freezing, this might be the only thing you need to do to protect your home’s pipes from freezing.
Use heat cord or heat tape
Heat cord and heat tape are two types of electric strips that can be wrapped around pipes to keep them warm and prevent freezing. Heat cord is more rigid than heat tape, so it can be harder to keep flush around the pipes as it is wrapped. It can, however, be cut to various lengths, whereas heat tape is only available in specific sizes. Additionally, some heat cords automatically adjust to the appropriate temperature, which is not a feature offered by heat tape.
Put a heating pad around your pipes
Electric heating pads do an exceptional job of preventing pipes from freezing. The problem, however, is that they aren’t large enough to heat an entire pipe. They are a great choice if you are having a problem with a specific area of a pipe or if the weather suddenly drops and you don’t have time to take any other precautionary measures.
Open cabinets and let faucets drip
Two of the simplest things you can do to help prevent pipes from freezing is to keep under-sink cabinet doors open and allow water to slowly trickle out of your faucets overnight until the weather warms up. Both of these tactics are free and are quite effective. Remember, a slow drip is all you need to keep a small amount of water running through your pipes; you don’t need to increase your water bill greatly!
Hopefully, these tips will make it easier for you and your family to cope with the upcoming winter season. Taking small steps, like those described above, can go a long way toward keeping your home in good working order when the weather is cold. If your pipes do freeze despite your best efforts, call a professional plumber to assess the situation.