During the winter in Denver, it is not uncommon for temperatures to dip below freezing. As the cold approaches, you want to ensure that every element of your home is able to stand up to what inclement weather can bring. Freezing pipes happen all the time, but you can take a variety of measures to reduce potential risks in your home.
The Risk of Frozen Pipes
As water freezes inside your pipes, pressure results from the frozen water expanding. The pipes may burst or crack due to the pressure. When the ice thaws, leaking and flooding can result. Whether your pipes are metal or plastic, there is a risk of freezing. The risk is especially high for pipes located in basements, attics, crawlspaces, and other unheated areas. Your pipes that are on an exterior wall are also at increased risk of freezing.
Seal Openings and Cracks
Look at your doors and windows to see if there are cracks or openings that can be spotted. You should pay special attention to the areas that are near your pipes. This includes the walls and foundation since cold air getting through these areas can increase the risk of your pipes freezing. Once you identify the areas where cold air is getting in, you should use weather stripping or caulk to seal everything. A professional can tackle this for you so that you know there is a tight seal that cold air cannot get through.
Insulate Your Pipes
Just like your walls, your pipes need proper insulation too. This is especially crucial for the pipes that are located on exterior walls. There are different materials you can use to insulate your pipes, including wraps, sleeves, or foam pipe covers. Insulating all pipes is ideal, but you want to pay special attention to pipes in your attic, basement, crawlspace, and garage. Any pipes near windows also need sufficient insulation. A professional can come and inspect your pipes’ insulation and let you know where improvements can be made to prevent freezing.
Let Faucets Drip
Take note of your pipes that are located on exterior walls, turning the faucets on just enough to allow water to drip out steadily. This helps to reduce the risk of freezing by slightly alleviating some of the pressure inside your pipes. Do this when the temperature gets below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that you are home so that you can keep an eye on the faucets. Since hot water pipes are unlikely to freeze, let cold water drip because of their increased risk of freezing.
Keep Your Interior Warm
A consistent indoor temperature is important for preventing your pipes from freezing. You want your home to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit to get the most benefit. However, if you keep it warmer, this will be even more helpful. If you leave your home for an extended period of time, make sure to set your thermostat to ensure a consistent temperature.
Turn the Water Off
If you are going on vacation or will be gone for more than a day, you should talk to a plumber about turning off your water temporarily. A professional can also drain your pipes so that no standing water is present to freeze. Make sure you schedule them to come and turn your water back on the day you are due to come back home.
Use Pipe Heating Cables
Since Denver winters can get especially cold, you might consider pipe heating cables. These cables are ideal for very cold environments. A professional plumber can install them quickly for you. They work to prevent the formation of ice by providing gentle heat to your pipes. Once a plumber installs them, they are easy to use and maintain.
Crawlspace and Attic Insulation
The cold air in your crawlspaces and attic puts the pipes in these areas at risk of freezing. It can also make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Have a professional come out and perform an insulation inspection. They will let you know where to make corrections and the best type of insulation to use. For these spaces, foam board or fiberglass insulation is usually recommended.
Prepare Your Outdoor Faucets
Faucets that are outdoors are at high risk of freezing. Before the weather gets too cold, remove your garden hose, drain any excess water, and put it somewhere with a stable temperature. Turn off the water that supplies the garden hose faucet and make sure that there is no water left in it. You should also check any outdoor irrigation systems and drain them before turning them off. Lastly, talk to a plumber about installing outdoor faucet covers, as this will give you more insulation to prevent freezing.
Power Outage Preparation
Harsh winter storms may cause your power to go out. When you do not have any power, you likely have no heat. The risk of frozen pipes increases significantly. If it is financially feasible, consider a generator that can handle your heating system during a power outage. Other heating options, such as a wood-burning stove, can also be ideal to keep your home at a consistent temperature.
Open Your Cabinet Doors
Pipes that are located under your sinks are not getting as much access to warm air as exposed pipes are. To ensure that warm air is circulating around them, open your cabinet doors. Make sure to check all of your bathroom sinks and kitchen sinks to make sure these areas are ventilating properly. These sinks are also often along exterior walls, so it is even more vital to open the cabinet doors so that warm air can get to them. If your bathtubs or showers are on exterior walls, open the curtains or doors when you are not using them so that warm air circulates optimally.
Create a Family Plan
Talk to everyone in your household about frozen pipes and how everyone can play a role in preventing them. For example, even if a faucet is dripping, it should not be turned off. You can also ensure that everyone only opens the door when necessary. Everyone can get in on ensuring that cabinet doors under sinks stay open when it is below freezing outside. Even young children can spot a leaking pipe and report the issue to an adult.
Professional Plumbers in Denver
Frozen pipes can be disastrous, so it is imperative that you do everything in your power to prevent them. Our team at High 5 Plumbing knows exactly what Denver winters are like. We can help make sure that you are using every preventative measure possible. No matter the time of year, we can help with any of your plumbing needs. Let us know if you need help with your water heater, pipes, routine plumbing maintenance, or sewer and drain clogs.
Call High 5 Plumbing in Denver today to schedule an appointment.