If you live where winter temperatures drop below freezing for long periods of time, listen in. The risk of pipes freezing is a major concern. Professionals like the Plumbing Detectives, a busy plumber in Lane Cove, have seen this a thousand times. They’ve sent us a few suggestions to protect pipes from freezing up your money too.
More can happen than stopping water flow. Water expands when it freezes, meaning pipes and fixtures can burst and crack too. More damage, means more expensive repairs. There’s even the risk of serious damage with water flowing into plaster in the home. Now that’s a costly lesson.
This is the most common way to deal with pipes that might freeze. Wrapping pipes in insulation will protect them from the cold.
Yo can use heavy-duty tape and flexible foam batts to wrap pipes. Otherwise, you can use pre-formed tubes. These are usually light-weight foam , which you can cut with scissors to fit along the length of the pipe. An added bonus is you will save money on hot water costs, as the pipes will hold the heat for longer..
Warm Them Up
If simple insulation isn’t enough to keep out the cold out, you can take this step to warm them up. Use a space heater for exposed basements or under cold kitchen cabinets. Do this if this is the best place to access your pipes. Applying specialised heating wires or wraps directly to plumbing will also work.
Tip: To use heaters or warming tape, you need to have easy access to electrical outlets. Pipes that are difficult to get to, will make this job too hard.
A Last Resort Fix
As a last resort you can leave water running – until you can get some professional help in. This is not ideal at all, but in an emergency you could consider this.
Moving water is less likely to freeze up. A slow trickle is enough to save the day.
Note: No – don’t do this for longer than a day or even a few hours or you’ll get an astronomical water bill. For that one night when temperatures to drop too low, this might save the day.
Move the Pipes
If you’ve been battling this issue for a while, consider getting this problem fixed – for good. If the insulation or heating wraps aren’t the answer, consider doing some work to move the pipes.
Does the plumbing in your home run through unheated crawl spaces? Or along the inside of an exterior wall? If so, you will fight to keep the water flowing well. Rather than struggle year after year, talk to a professional plumber. Consider re-routing the pipes to a better area. At least, move the pipes to a place with good access so you can use the cheaper ideas mentioned here.