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Saturday, January 25, 2014

5 Tips on How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

I woke up to frozen pipes this morning in my kitchen. Luckily , the sun came up and it worked it self out on its own. The winter season can be long and dreary enough. The last thing you need is the stress and expense of hiring a plumber to deal with frozen pipes.

Before the cold strikes, it is best to get your pipes ready for winter. Here are five easy tips on how to prevent frozen pipes:

1. Insulate Pipes

One of the most basic things that can be done to prevent your pipes from freezing is to put some insulation on them even before the cold season comes. You can use either of these two methods to insulate your pipes:
Heat Tape. Using heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables on your pipes is one of the most effective ways to protect your pipes from the freezing cold. Heat tape actually resembles an extension cord more than a tape. Wind the tape in a spiral pattern around the pipes, closely observing the manufacturer's installation and operating instructions. Some heat tapes are best used with additional insulation.
Fiberglass or Foam Jackets. Insulation by itself is also a good way of keeping your pipes from freezing. You may use fiberglass insulation or polyethylene foam jackets. Keep in mind that the more insulation used, the better protection your pipes will have.

2. Use a Heat Lamp

Heat from a light bulb can also help prevent frozen pipes. A 100-watt bulb should be able to do the job. Attach the bulb to an extension cord and hang it by your pipes. This is especially effective if most of your pipes are located in one enclosed area.

3. Prevent Cold Winter Drafts

Seal all openings in your crawl spaces and windows to keep the frigid air out and the heat in. Air leaks may also be found around electrical wiring or dryer vents. Any cracks in the house's foundations should be caulked as well.

4. Allow Heat to Circulate

When winter does come, it is important to create heat circulation. You can easily do this by keeping closet doors open to allow the heat to get to pipes located under the sinks or on the other side of the walls.

5. Keep the Faucets Dripping

Sometimes, a steady small trickle of water is all it takes to prevent frozen pipes. The continuous movement of water can keep them from freezing. Let the water drip continuously throughout the night preferably from a faucet connected to a wall outside.

With these tips on how to prevent frozen pipes, you won't have to worry about an expensive plumbing emergency due to a burst pipe ever again.

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