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How to Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

Anyone who lives in areas that have truly cold winter temperatures have the risk of frozen water pipes. Often this is not

a problem. Copper pipes can withstand temperatures that are below the freezing point without cracking. What causes the problem is when the pressure in the pipe builds and bursts the pipe. The clean up and repair is a big job. It is far worse than not getting water from your faucet.

Most homes have little threat of frozen pipes inside the home. Crawlspaces and other pipes outside the home that will freeze and burst. A small opening under the house is all that is necessary to cause the pipes to freeze and potentially burst. The winds that get through that opening contribute to the sub-freezing temperatures that occur.

Temperatures below 20 F will increase the possibility of ice in the pipes, plugging them and causing them to burst. Prevention is the key. It is also very inexpensive.

One remedy that most people have successfully used is opening the faucets in the house. They need to be opened to a drip. There is no need to run them fully open.

The running water is less likely to freeze that water that is still within the pipes. Preventing the water from freezing using this method is successful due to the release of pressure in the pipe. As ice forms, the release of pressure gives the water a place to go.

The obvious prevention is not allowing the pipes to get too cold. By preventing this the odds of broken pipes is practically zero. There are two ways this can be done.

  • Wrapping the pipes in insulating foam is an inexpensive and effective way to prevent the pipes from freezing. While the foam does not provide heat, it assists in keeping the water from getting cold and freezing. If the water retains a temperature of at least 35F the foam will usually prevent it from going below freezing.
  • Foam comes either as a long flat piece that will curl into a cylinder. The foam is the cylinder of the pipe. By cutting it to the proper length, it is easy to install and very effective.
  • This type of foam is easy to install, replace and not costly.

The other method will cost a bit more and is more difficult to install. You may choose to call a plumber in Aurora to install this second type of prevention. While the foam will do its job up to a point, with extreme temperatures a heating system is a sure thing. There are two different types: a circulating system and a method of placing tape or wires along the pipes.

The wire or tape is placed along the tape. Electricity will pass through the tape and heat the wire. The heat will transfer to the pipes and provide you with a very reliable method. This method is less costly than the circulating, but it does work.

The circulating system uses the electricity in your home. New homes are sometimes equipped with this method. Hot water slowly passes through the pipe. The cold water circulates back to the water heater. There is a built in thermostat and a pump in the line. This is the most effective method that can be used.


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