Winterization Tips to Avoid Frozen Pipes
Generally, winters in the greater Atlanta region offer residents with cool and mild temperatures. Typically, we avoid freezing temperatures that many other regions around the country must suffer through for months. However, this year, Mother Nature brought some cold and freezing temperatures. As a result, learn about some winterization tips that will help avoid home issues, such as freezing pipes.
First, what is winterization?
Winterization helps homeowners prevent cold air from influencing the warm interior air.
Insulation and air sealing are the critical steps to properly restricting the air from flowing out of your home. Winterization works by identifying "leaks" in the interior/exterior of the house. From our high school science class, which we tried to forget, we know that hot air rises. Therefore, in the winter, the air heated to keep your family warm rises. Because air is a gas, miniscule gaps (not seen by the human eye) allow hot air to escape. Winterization works by stopping the air from escaping.
Winterization Protects Your Home
Typically, many homeowners associate winterization with snow birds and summer homes. Many people that live in cold weather climates, must winterize their homes when they head South. However, as we experience colder temperatures, it is worthwhile to understand the process. As a result, you'll be able to protect your home.
For example, frozen pipes create massive damage. Pipes most at risk for freezing include:
- Exposed pipes in unheated areas of the home.
- Pipes located in exterior walls.
- Any plumbing on the exterior of the home.
To help, learn about some common winterization meatures.
As always, preventative measures make the most impact because routine maintenance catches minor issues before becoming large issues.
For example, a frozen garden hose can cause more damage than a busted hose because it can actually burst an interior pipe. How? When the water in the hose freezes, it expands and increases pressure throughout the entire plumbing system. Therefore, as part of routine seasonal maintenance, disconnect, drain and store garden hoses prior to the first freeze of the season.
Winterization Tips To Help Stop Frozen Pipes
As a result, find some additional tips that help prevent frozen pipes.
- Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces because of the high chance of freezing.
- Seal air leaks surrounding or near pipes.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Keep heat at 55 degrees F or higher particularly if you are out of town.
- During a cold spell turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls, which allows a small trickle of water to run during the night.
- Identify the locations of shutoff valves so that you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible when a pipe bursts.
However, if a pipe does freeze, there are a few options.
- Frozen pipes likely occur against exterior walls or where your water enters your home.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area.
- Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
For homeowners that take a DIY approach, apply heat until restoring the full water pressure. However, if you are unable to locate the frozen area or the frozen area is not accessible or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
For DIY homeowners, some basic actions make an immediate impact. Plus, they are cost effective.
- Develop a Winterizing Your Home Checklist: Now that you know to concentrate your efforts on places where the interior and exterior are adjacent, find or develop a checklist.
- Stop Air Leaks: Obviously, doors are a major place for air leaks. However, other high impact areas are the basement, attic and crawl spaces.
- Winterize Your Yard: Not everything involves doors and air ducts. There is also yardwork! Winter storms include heavy rain, sleet and possibly snow on trees. While the weather permits, trim any trees near your home, which helps prevent damage. Also, clean the gutters and possibly install leaf guards to help proper drainage of snow and rain. Ensure water has a clean path to prevent buildup that may lead to ice dams during cold and freezing temperatures.
- Protect Your AC Unit: Although winterization occurs during the winter, protect your air conditioner unit. Most likely, you will not use your AC unit during the winter. If that is the case, then winterizing your AC should extend its life, plus it is pretty easy.
For any and all winterization questions, then Snappy has the expertise to answer your specific questions. Homeowners should consider a home energy checkup because the findings truly identify the gaps where air leakage occurs and will save you money over time. Please feel free to reach out to Snappy with any questions or schedule a service!