When most people think about winter, the first thing that comes to mind is how to create a comfortable indoor environment in their homes. This involves ensuring that the furnace of heating system is in good condition and the home is properly insulated. However, very few people stop to think about the plumbing pipes that are exposed to the freezing temperatures. Frozen pipes can cause havoc in your home, especially if they burst. You need to plan to ensure that the pipes are insulated and protected from the cold.
Identify pipes that need insulation
Not all plumbing pipes in the home require insulation in preparation for the winter. The first step in your planning should be to identify those that are at risk of bursting if the water in the freezes. Examine plumbing pipes that may be located in the following areas of the home:
- Pipes in the basement, particularly if the basement walls and floors are not insulated.
- In the attic and other crawl spaces.
- Exterior pipes that supply water from the main line into the home.
- In the garage
You need to ensure that any exposed pipes are insulated. It only takes a small frozen portion for the pipe to burst and cause plumbing leaks and water damage in your home.
Invest in insulation products
Various insulation products are available on the market, and you don't have to break the bank to keep your plumbing pipes in excellent shape during the cold season. Some of the conventional insulating solutions include electrical heat tapes, pipe sleeves, and tube insulation. Make sure that you have the right kind of insulation for the pipe material. For instance, PVC pipes should be wrapped in electric heat tape which is insulated with thick rubber. You can also have DIY insulation such as old newspapers and clothing for pipes in the basement and other areas that don't have extremely low temperatures.
Prepare for the worst
Even with adequate preparation, you may still be faced with a plumbing emergency in the home. If you overlooked a portion of the pipes and they burst, you have to be prepared to manage the disaster. The most important thing is identifying the location of your main shut-off valve so that you can shut off the water in the entire household until after repair of the broken pipe. Additionally, you should have the contacts of a reputed plumber at hand, preferably a 24-hour one who can come to your aid at any time.