Preventing Frozen Pipes
Posted: November 26, 2012
Contractors tend to install kitchen sinks on the outside wall of the home so that you can enjoy the view while working around the sink. When temperatures drop, water lines located on outside walls can easily freeze. In addition to proper insulation, plumbers recommend opening cabinet doors and letting the warm air from the room flow inside cabinets. You can also increase temperatures by placing space heaters next to open doors of cabinets.
If you haven’t checked the levels of waste in your septic tank or haven’t had it pumped in many years, you may experience unpleasant sewage backups when your tanks are overloaded. Already an unpleasant task, digging into frozen ground to access the tanks and replacing frozen pipes will be much more difficult and expensive than having your septic system cleaned regularly. On top of that, if the sewage backs up into your home in the winter, it can have unpleasant odors that will be more difficult to air out if it is too cold to open your windows. Have your septic tank pumped out by a professional before winter to avoid emergency backups.
Faulty parts, sediment deposits, and blown pilot pipes can all prevent your water heater from providing hot water. To avoid cold showers on a frigid winter night, turn off and drain your water heater or have it serviced by a professional plumber.
Frozen pipes are the most frequent emergency plumbing problem that plumbers are called for in winter. Exposed plumbing pipes tend to freeze in low temperatures, and without immediate thawing they eventually break. Before temperatures drop look for exposed pipes that need insulation and protection against the weather elements. Wrap heat tape around exposed pipes to keep water lines warm during winter.
Outside faucets that are not used during winter should be winterized to protect them from cracking and freezing in low temperatures. Shut water supply to exposed plumbing fixtures and drain out water from tanks and basins.
Are you going out to your barn, pasture, pet’s run or bird bath each day and dealing with frozen water and water lines? Having water available to your animals is important for their overall health, especially in the wintertime when the temperatures are cold. Even hot water can freeze in just a few hours when temperatures are below freezing. Thankfully there is an easier way to make sure your animals have easy access to the fresh water they need during the winter.
Heated buckets and dishes which require no set up other than plugging them in and filling them with water are a great option. They only turn on when needed so they are both energy efficient and safe. Many are also able to be used year round by hiding the cord in the bottom of the bucket.
Stock tank heaters utilize your existing stock tanks by simply adding a heater to them. These heaters can be attached through the plug in the bottom of the stock tank or simply placed in the tank. There are both sinking and floating devices depending on the needed application.
Heat tapes are an excellent way to keep water line and hydrants from freezing. They come in a variety of lengths and also only come on as needed. They are easy to install and can be left on the pipes year round if they aren’t in the way. Simply unplug them when not in use.
Heated bird baths are also available for your feathered friends. They allow the wild birds to have a readily available source of fresh water. There are also heaters available for existing bird baths that can simply set in the water.
Now you can enjoy the winter without the hassles of frozen water causing unnecessary grief and frustration, not to mention frozen fingers and toes!
For additional information:
NationalSafety Weblog: http://nationalsafety.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/preventing-and-thawing-frozen-pipes/
A Plumbers web site http://www.aplumbers.com/articles/winter-plumbing-problems
Town & Country Co-Op based in Ohio http://www.tc-coop.com/article/item-b44a8047-b476-49ea-bd6a-150558d8b970.aspx
Water quality Educator
Penn State Extension