Perhaps the most common plumbing inconveniences tied to winter weather are frozen and/or burst pipes. If standing water freezes in a pipe, it will expand as it hardens. The expansion blocks the pipe, giving the moving water nowhere to flow. Eventually, this buildup of water causes pressure that will force a pipe to burst, causing serious damage to your home.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by Georgia’s mild climate; pipes can freeze and burst just as easily here as they can in colder northern climates. Anytime the outdoor temperature is slated to go below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you are at risk of this happening in your home. Luckily, there are some ways in which you can minimize this risk.
- Water pipes function best when they are not being exposed to freezing temperatures. Therefore, it is preferable they are placed in heated spaces rather than crawl spaces, attics, or exterior walls. If you are in a home that has pipes in these locations, you can call a licensed plumber to see if the pipes can be rerouted in a manner that will place them in warmer areas. You can also look into surrounding exposed pipes with fitted foam or fiberglass insulation sleeves that can be found at your local hardware store.
- Inspect for holes or cracks in outside walls and foundations that are located near water pipes and seal them with caulking to keep the cold air out.
- If you have cabinets surrounding the sink pipes in your kitchen and bathroom, open the doors when it is especially cold outside to allow the warm air from your home to reach the pipes.
- Set your faucets to a slow drip in order to keep water constantly moving through the pipes you believe are likely to freeze. This will prevent the pressure that causes pipes to burst from building up.