It’s not just people, pets, and plants that benefit from a warm house in the winter, but your pipes, too. When pipes get too cold, they can freeze and crack, causing immediate and long-term problems, including flooding. This can happen when the temperature drops significantly outside, and/or your furnace is malfunctioning and not producing enough or any heat to keep the house and pipes warm.
Because water expands when it freezes, it puts pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes, according to the American Red Cross.
To avoid this problem, plan ahead, says Tom Eppers, co-owner, Dowe & Wagner, a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning company serving residential and commercial customers in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Keeping your furnace well maintained with seasonal checkups, decreases the likelihood of breakdowns which can lead to pipes getting too cold and freezing. Also, make sure your pipes are insulated properly, especially pipes that are exposed in basements, attics, garages, and crawl spaces.
The Red Cross adds, “Pipe sleeves, UL-listed heat tape, and heat cables” can help insulate exposed water pipes.
During extreme cold spells, consider keeping a faucet slowly dripping by the pipe it serves. This age-old solution decreases the chance of pipes freezing and bursting, because it reduces pressure inside the pipe. Open cabinet doors by pipes in the kitchen, bathroom, and other sites to allow warm air to circulate.
The Red Cross advises, “If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places include against exterior walls, or where your water service enters your home through the foundation. Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe (with heating pads, space heaters, and electric hair dryers) and the area begins to melt, water flow will help melt more ice in the pipe.”
Dowe & Wagner : 11215 Commercial Street, Richmond, IL 60071 : 815.678.3000 : http://doweandwagner.com/