One of the most common problems faced by Illinois homeowners in the winter is frozen plumbing. Pipes can freeze more easily than you might think, especially if they’re exposed and in parts of your home that aren’t properly heated or insulated. Water expands when it freezes, which can cause pipes to leak or even burst. A burst pipe can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage, while even a tiny leak can leave you with a ridiculously high water bill.
Frozen pipes are indeed troublesome, but the good news is that it’s not hard to prevent your pipes from freezing in the winter. All you need is to follow these tips.
Insulate Your Pipes
If you have exposed pipes in your basement, attic, or garage, you can keep them from freezing by wrapping them in insulation. You can buy pipe insulation from most hardware stores, but you can also use some old blankets or towels if you’re in a bind. Simply wrap your insulation around the exposed pipes and secure it with some duct tape or fiberglass tape.
Keep Your Garage Door Closed
If you have water lines going through your garage, try to keep your garage door closed as much as possible. You should only open your garage door when you’re coming and going, which means saving any work or cleaning projects for when the weather is warmer.
Insulate or Heat Your Garage
Your garage might already be insulated and/or heated if you spend a lot of time there, but consider installing some insulation before it gets too cold if you’re worried about anything freezing there. If you don’t have a heated garage, you can always set up some space heaters near any exposed pipes to keep them from freezing.
Open Your Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinet Doors
When you open the cabinets under your kitchen or bathroom sink, warm air circulating in your house can affect the plumbing inside. This is especially helpful if any of your sinks are located on an exterior wall. Just make sure that you remove any potentially harmful substances from your cabinets if you have small children or pets.
Winterize Your Outdoor Faucets
Since you probably won’t need your outdoor faucets in the winter, you should winterize them before the weather gets really cold. To do this, shut off the supply of water to the faucets and open them to drain any water left in your pipes. These faucets are always exposed to the elements, so make sure to take care of this task now, especially if you’ve been regularly watering your lawn.
Don’t Turn Off Your Heat
If you’re going to leave your home for any period of time during the winter, you might be tempted to turn off your furnace to save some money on your heating bills. After all, nobody will be home, so it doesn’t make sense to keep your home at a comfortably warm temperature. While that does seem like sound logic, you shouldn’t completely turn off your heat if you’re going to leave your water on. You can certainly turn your heat down to give your HVAC system a break and ensure you don’t end up with an astronomical heating bill, but you should set your thermostat to between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. That should help keep your pipes from freezing while you’re gone.
Naturally, this also applies to turning down your heat at night. While most HVAC experts do recommend turning your heat down to around 62 degrees Fahrenheit at night when everyone is asleep, you might want to rethink that if you’re in the middle of a cold snap. You don’t want to crank your thermostat up to 80 or 90 degrees when everyone is asleep, but you should keep your home at around 72 degrees at all times when it gets really cold outside. Your heating bill might go up, but it will still be much more affordable than having to repair a frozen and burst pipe in your basement or garage.
Winterize Your Plumbing
You should winterize your outdoor water faucets regardless of what you plan to do during the winter, but you should do the same to the rest of your house if you’re going to be away from home. First, find the main shutoff valve for your home’s water supply. Shut it off, and open all of your faucets to drain the remaining water from your pipes.
Let Water Trickle From Your Faucets
If you’re going to be home during the winter and you’re afraid of your pipes freezing at night, turn on your faucets to the smallest trickle. This keeps water moving through your pipes, which makes them less likely to freeze. Your water bill might take a hit, but it will be nothing compared to what will happen if a pipe freezes and bursts in your home.
Redo Your Insulation
Your home’s insulation can last between 20 and 80 years, but it does wear down over time. If you live in an older home or you feel drafts that you didn’t feel before, it might be time to redo your insulation. If there are parts of your home that do not have any insulation such as your basement or garage, consider having some installed, especially if you have exposed pipes in those areas.
What To Do When You Have Frozen Pipes
These tips should prevent your pipes from freezing this winter, but it is possible to take every precaution and still have a problem. You might notice little signs that your pipes are frozen such as reduced water pressure or small leaks, or you might have a burst pipe that threatens to flood your basement. If this happens, don’t panic. Shut off the water in your home immediately and contact Baker & Sons Plumbing to let us fix the problem. Even if you merely suspect that you have a frozen pipe somewhere in your home, you can prevent a lot of damage if you act quickly. Frozen pipes can lead to water damage to your home, mold growth, and other problems that will only get worse, so don’t sleep on any potential plumbing problems this winter.
Contact [company_Name] for Assistance
We at Baker & Sons Plumbing can help you if you think your pipes are frozen this winter, but we can do much more than that. Baker & Sons Plumbing provides plumbing services such as leak detection, drain cleaning, trenchless sewer repair, and much more. We even offer water treatment and filtration systems to keep the water in your home clean and safe for your entire family. In short, our plumbers are trained to handle practically any situation, whether that involves a frozen pipe or a clogged drain.
For more information about our plumbing services, contact [company_name} in Marion, IL today. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have about keeping your pipes from freezing and making repairs to your plumbing.