Homeowners can take a few precautions before the next freeze that may save your home from the devastating effects of frozen and broken water pipes. Disconnect all garden hoses and other outside water connections. Whenever possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
Insulate any exposed pipes, check for water lines located in the basement, under the house, near or on exterior walls and water lines in attics. Be sure to protect pipes with northern exposures, and wrap UL-approved heat tape. The improper usage of heat tape or pipe insulation can cause a fire so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Thermwell Products offers 30 ft. Automatic Electric Heat Cable Kits that are easily installed by the homeowner. This products is for use on metal and plastic water pipes to help prevent the pipes from freezing. This kit has a built-in thermostat and comes pre-assembled. It is available at your local hardware store.
Seal any leaks in your home or crawlspace that might allow cold air inside where pipes are located, especially in the kitchen, and bathrooms. On especially cold nights keep the doors to your kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities open.
Keep thermostats set to at least 55 degrees when the house is vacant or while you are on vacation during the winter. It is good idea to have someone check on the home while you are away and make sure it’s staying warm enough to prevent pipe freezing.
If you plan to be away for a long period of time drain and shut off the water system completely, except for any indoor fire sprinkler systems.
The most important thing to know is how to shut off the water supply if a pipe bursts. And be sure everyone in the family knows how to turn off the water in the event of a burst pipe because quick action will minimize damage.