How To Avoid Frozen Pipes This Winter

Winter is upon us once again. Before the bone chilling nights hit, Vancouver Pipe Repair Experts at High Mark Plumbing offer advice and tips to avoid frozen pipes in your home. Should you have the unfortunate event occur, always remember that the General Plumbing Specialists at High Mark Plumbing are at your beacon call 24/7. To help you prepare for winter, High Mark’s Plumbing technicians recommend you fully prepare for worst case scenario by:

Before Winter

We all know that the best cure is prevention, right? That hasn’t stopped over 250,000 families experiencing burst pipes every winter due to freezing. Rather than adding to that statistic, the following can help:

  • Insulate/heat trace any pipes that run through the attic or crawl space of your home
  • Insulate/heat trace any pipes that run along exposed/exterior walls in your home
  • Locate and seal any points of air infiltration in your home. Check your dryer vent and washer hook-ups for infiltration. Even a tiny leak can be enough to freeze the pipes.
  • Disconnect all outside hoses and turn off the hose bib valve. If possible, turn off the main feed valve to the external hose bibs.

When Winter Hits

Sometimes, even when you have taken all the preventive measures possible, extreme cold can still freeze your pipes. In cases when the thermometer dips extremely low:

  • Open faucets (hot and cold) to allow a trickle/drip. This can often be just enough flow to prevent freezing pipes.
  • Do not reduce your thermostat at night – although you will lose the potential energy savings, the price to repair damage from a burst pipe will far outweigh the savings lost. Because the temperature typically drops even lower at night, this is the period when your pipes are at the highest risk of freezing and bursting.
  • Leave cabinet doors open to provide heat to the uninsulated areas, like in the kitchen or bath.

Before Taking a Trip

The last thing you want is to come home from your winter respite to a house flooded by freezing water! Before leaving:

  • Set you thermostat to at least 12•C (55•F).
  • Arrange for a house sitter, neighbor or family member to check your home at least every other day to assure the temperature is maintained.
  • Be sure that your oil tank (if applicable) is full to avoid the furnace from failing while away.
  • Depending on how long you will be gone, you may find that draining your entire water system and turning off the primary feed valve is the safest option. Beware, however, that should you have a fire sprinkler system, this will be deactivated when you turn the water main off.

If Your Pipes Freeze Anyway

Sometimes, even the best laid plans go awry. Should your pipes freeze despite taking all the preventive measures, first turn off the water main valve, then call the Emergency Plumbing Repair Specialists at High Mark Pluming immediately!

Be certain that everyone in your household is aware of where the water main valve is located in case of burst pipes. As much as 250 gallons/minute can escape through even the smallest crack.

Precautionary Tale

Should you decide to use heat trace to protect your pipes, be certain the materials you use are UL listed. Furthermore, be certain to choose the correct (interior vs. exterior) application when purchasing materials. Alternatively, High Mark Plumbing’s experts can help by providing and installing all necessary heat trace elements as required in your home.