Frozen pipes are a common problem in the winter here in Buffalo and Western New York. They are a pain to deal with, and—in the worst cases—can cause pipe bursts that lead to thousands of dollars in property damage. In this blog, we run through the top 4 ways to prevent water pipes from freezing.
What causes water pipes to freeze in the winter?
Your water pipes freeze during the coldest nights and days of the year when exposed to below-freezing temperatures for an hour or more. So, why is this a problem? First, using the water again will require professional pipe thawing services from Reimer. But, you’re also at risk of a pipe burst.
What is a pipe burst?
As it freezes, water expands into ice, physically taking up more space. For pipes filled with water, this means that freezing causes the ice to push up against the sides of the pipes. Sometimes, nothing happens. But, if the pipe can’t handle the strain, it will burst.
The damage is prominent at the point of freezing and the water source as the blockage experiences an increase in pressure. A burst pipe can flood your home and generally turn you entire life upside-down. It’s not a good situation to be in.
Our four best ways to prevent water pipes from freezing
Here are four ways you can prevent water pipes from freezing this winter:
1. “Hide” your water lines by insulating them
Ok, let’s start with the most-vulnerable targets: your outside water lines. If you want to prevent water pipes from freezing, this is where you need to start.
These lines are too exposed to keep the water in them liquid without your help. What you need to do is insulate these pipes so that they have a blanket of warmth protecting them at all times.
If you need further tips and advice—or would like a professional plumber to come to your home and inspect your outdoor pipes—give the team here at Reimer a call.
2. Make absolutely sure you know where your shutoff valve is
This is a big one. We’re always surprised at the number of people who don’t know where the water shutoff valve is, especially renters. Most of the more catastrophic pipe bursts can be nipped in the bud by quickly and effectively shutting off the water in your home, limiting the damage caused by a frozen pipe.
You want to prevent water pipes from freezing in the winter, but you also want to be ready to deal with those that do, in the event that something goes wrong.
The last thing you want to being doing at 2:35 on a cold Buffalo morning in December is running around the outside of your house in the dark looking for a snow-buried shutoff valve. Locate it now in the fall so you know what to do in the case of an emergency.
3. Check the insulation in your attic and basement
We’ve already talked about outdoor pipes and plumbing that are exposed to elements. But, insufficiently insulated plumbing in your home’s attic and basement can also freeze up if not given an extra layer of protection.
Take a quick look through your basement and attic. Are there exposed pipes near outside walls or the ceiling? If so, it might not be a bad idea to wrap them in an insulating layer.
“But, these pipes are in my house!” Yes, but consider this: in the event of a furnace breakdown and the need for furnace repair, any extra insulation on those pipes can buy them critical hours as the rest of your home gets frosty. In other words, insulation can be the difference between waking up to a frozen pipes and, well, not.
4. Schedule a heating tune-up with the team at Reimer
One of the best ways to ensure that your indoor pipes don’t freeze this winter is to make sure that your home’s furnace is running right and not at risk of a breakdown. Furnace problems that happen while the family is sleeping are the most common cause of frozen pipes.
You can’t prevent every problem, but you can greatly reduce your risk of a breakdown by scheduling a furnace tune-up with our team. Not only do furnace tune-ups help you avoid furnace issues throughout the winter, but they’ll also make your system more energy-efficient—saving you money, all winter long.
That’s a win-win.
For more plumbing tips, advice, and other services, call the team at Reimer!
At Reimer, we handle all your frozen pipe problems with our 24/7 emergency plumbing repair services. For service here in Buffalo and Western New York, give us a call at (716) 694-8524 or contact our team online.