Kost's Korner

5 Steps for Preventing Frozen Pipes this Winter

Even in Sunny Florida, with colder winter months approaching, the possibility exists for the pipes in your home to freeze during the winter months. Frozen pipes can cause a huge inconvenience and a pretty penny to repair. So how do you prevent your pipes from freezing or thaw ones that are frozen already?

Step 1: Wrap heater tapes around the pipes or use a heated reflector lamp
In order for heater tape to properly work, it needs to be wrapped around the pipes before insulating them. The heater tapes work by using a thermostat that is built in. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the heater tape you purchase as some heater tapes cannot be used with insulation.

Step 2: Keep your water pipes dry and insulate them from the cold moving air
You can purchase inexpensive pipe insulators at your local hardware store. By itself, insulation doesn’t completely prevent freezing but it slows down the transfer rate of heat to cold. Be sure to know the location of your water main shut off valve in the event that you need it. Leaks are common after the pipes are thawed.

Step 3: Let the water run from the faucets at just a constant, slow drip
Begin with a slow drip of hot water and combine a slow drip of cold water in the kitchen. Bathroom water can be cold as long as it is not freezing.

Step 4: If pipes are frozen and need to be thawed, first check the pipes in the frozen area
Copper or plastic pipes may freeze and break open, causing leaks and flooding in the area of the freeze. If the pipe appears to be busted, leaking or has a split in it, contact a plumber right away. All metal pipes may need to be welded and the repair of these pipes is best left to a professional.

Step 5: Use extreme caution when heating the area of a freeze or the pipes themselves with an electronic heating device like a hand held hair dryer or heat lamp
Space heaters, hair dryers and heat lamps generate very high temperatures that can cause certain materials to combust. Never leave any of these appliances unattended and always call a plumber when in doubt.

For more useful tips on preparing your plumbing for the winter months, contact the professionals at Kost Plumbing today.