Winter is here and with it comes freezing weather that can cause difficulties for many homeowners. One of the worst is frozen pipes. Frozen water in your plumbing is caused by a combination of factors: poor insulation, low setting on the thermostat, and sudden drops in temperature. All these result in ice forming around the pipes – a winter nightmare that can happen (and have happened) in the Greater Toronto Area.
The ice that starts to form on the pipes is what you want to avoid. When water turns to ice, it expands and puts a lot of pressure on the material surface, whether they’re metal or plastic. When ice forms on exposed plumbing, you can expect broken pipes, water damage, onset of mold growth, and a general breakdown where water cannot efficiently flow to the openings. An expert plumber in Barrie, such as those from Harris Plumbing Inc., should be able to recommend the solution and carry out the repair, and then advise you on how to prevent it from ever happening again.
The most important consideration against broken pipes caused by water damage is insulation. Lauren La Rose in her article for the National Post, emphasized this point:
“In some cases, people in the basement have one of those laundry tubs, and you usually have pipes running up the wall that are connected to another pipe upstairs,” said Suppa. “That pipe usually touches an outside wall, and what I mean by an outside wall is [that] it’s not insulated. So they can put insulation around that.”
In the case of pipes in the basement touching an outside wall or one located outside and not properly covered, insulation can be purchased inexpensively, he noted.
“It’s the shape of the pipe — which is usually half-inch copper — and there’s a slit down the (middle of the) insulation. So all it does is it wraps it around automatically for you,” said Suppa.
First, check your pipes and the condition of their insulation; if they need to be properly covered, hire a Newmarket plumber to install new insulation around your exposed pipes, including those in your crawl space and the attic. These are the spots where your plumbing is most susceptible to freezing. Additionally, insulate your outdoor plumbing and other unheated areas in your home where they are found.
Second, be proactive and check your pipes for any need for heating cables or tapes. Heating cables can help raise the temperature of the pipes enough to avoid freezing. For longer lasting service, get a professional to install them.
Finally, when the temperature dips below freezing, set your thermostat at high. This can raise your monthly bill, but it can’t ever be as costly as having to repair burst pipes or other forms of water damage in your home.
(Source: Freezing pipes: Six tips to avoid a giant homeowner’s headache, National Post, January 7, 2014)