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Tips for Preventing Frozen and Burst Pipes

By January 15, 2024No Comments
A person installing foam insulation on copper water pipes, as a method for preventing frozen pipes, with thick fiberglass insulation visible in the background.

Home » Tips for Preventing Frozen and Burst Pipes

It’s that time of year again: cold snap season. Plumbing systems can freeze when temperatures take a sudden nosedive past the freezing mark. And when water freezes and expands within a pipe, the pipe can burst. Here are some tips to protect your home’s plumbing during extreme cold:

Turn One Faucet to a Slow Drip

When outdoor temperatures drop below -12 °C, you might want to keep one of your indoor water faucets on a slow, continuous drip. Use cold water. Choose the faucet furthest from your incoming water line. The stream should be about the thickness of a thin pencil. The constant water flow reduces the chance that water will stagnate and freeze inside your pipes. When the temperatures rise, turn off the faucet. This strategy might cost a bit extra, but it could save you from burst pipes and water damage.

Insulate Exposed Pipes

Pipe insulation provides an extra layer of protection during frigid temperatures. Use foam tubing or pipe-insulating tape. Even bubble wrap or multiple layers of newspaper can work in a pinch. Remember to keep insulation materials away from open flames, like pilot lights.

Seal Off Drafts

Search your basement, attic, crawl space and other unfinished areas for drafts. If budget allows, consider getting a home energy assessment, often called a home energy audit. These audits are a detailed examination of your home’s overall energy efficiency. An expert auditor analyzes various aspects of your home, such as insulation, heating and cooling systems, windows, doors, and lighting. The process often includes tests like a blower door test to detect air leaks and a thermographic scan using infrared cameras to identify areas with insufficient insulation. The auditor also reviews your past utility bills to understand your typical energy consumption patterns. This assessment aims to identify areas where energy is being wasted and recommend improvements or changes to reduce energy consumption, thereby making your home more energy-efficient, reducing costs, and minimizing its environmental impact.

If any drafts are found, seal off openings to shield your pipes from frigid air and help prevent freezing. Drain outdoor faucets. Shut off the water supply to outdoor faucets, then turn them on to drain any remaining water. When the tap runs dry, turn it off. And disconnect all hoses. This process eliminates leftover water that could freeze your pipes.

Maintain a Stable Indoor Temperature

Keep your property heated to at least 13 °C to protect your pipes. Circulate the heat to your basement, too.

Open Cabinet Doors

Open cabinet doors to sinks located next to exterior walls. Opening the cabinet doors allows the warm interior air to circulate to the pipes under the cabinets. Locate your emergency shut-off valves. Find out where your main water shut-off valve is and how to use it. Knowing where the value is is critical information if a pipe bursts. If a pipe bursts suddenly due to unforeseen circumstances, like a freeze, your insurance usually covers it. However, the insurance company might question your coverage if they determine the damage was due to neglect, like failing to maintain adequate temperatures or insulation. Remember these pipe protection tips when the subzero temperatures hit. Be safe and stay warm out there!

Expert Advice from The Magnes Group

At the Magnes Group, we do things differently. We deliver the best insurance coverage and risk management advice with effort and care. We serve businesses and individuals who appreciate quality, precision, and value in a way that many other insurance brokerages can’t or won’t.

As an independent insurance broker, we pride ourselves on providing straightforward, uncomplicated, and honest advice. We treat others as we would like to be treated – not to increase market share but because it’s the right thing to do. You can rely on expert advice from the Magnes Group.

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