If you’re like many Georgia residents, you may believe that winterizing pipes is an annual activity reserved for the frozen north above the Mason Dixon line. While the northern half of the country does see more sub-freezing days than we do here in the Deep South, there are still enough cold winter nights to put your Georgia plumbing at risk. Winterizing your pipes requires minimal effort and can save you hundreds of dollars in plumbing repairs, so here are a few tips from The Pipe Medic to help you get started.
Household pipes burst when standing water that’s left in goosenecks, traps, and horizontal lines freezes solid. As water freezes, it expands and presses against the walls of the pipe until they fracture or split. In nearly every case, this happens overnight when temperatures are at their lowest. In northern Georgia, we start experiencing temperatures below the freezing mark of 32 degrees Fahrenheit around mid-October to early November. To beat the danger, winterize your household pipes at the beginning of October to prevent damage. Pipe insulation sleeves are an inexpensive, easy to use solution for winterizing. These foam cylinders slip easily around the pipe to keep cold air away, preventing freezing of the water inside. In addition, inspect the areas where your sink drains and water lines come through the wall and seal any holes with insulation as well.
…Or Start Even Earlier
If you keep a cabin or vacation home that you don’t use during the winter months, don’t wait until October to winterize. Instead, prepare the pipes when you leave for the season by thoroughly draining water from all water lines. Turn off the value on your incoming water lines, then run the faucets and flush the toilet until no more water comes out to makes sure they’re completely empty. If you’ll have the power off while you’re away, make sure you don’t forget to empty the hot water tank. Countless water tanks have split at the seam or incoming water lines: a disaster for any owner. While you’re at it, make sure you turn off its breaker or gas valve as well for safety when it’s not in use.
On those truly frigid days, you should take a few extra steps to make sure your pipes don’t freeze. Open cabinet doors beneath sinks to allow warm air to circulate around the drain and water lines. Keep doors to laundry rooms and hot water heater closets open to keep water lines as warm as possible. If needed, you can also invest in plug-in, heated pipe wraps that work like an electric blanket for your pipes. When the weather outside is frightful, winterized pipes will survive the dangers unscathed, saving you money and preventing the frustration of dealing with an emergency plumbing situation. But if you find yourself in need of immediate help, you can always count on The Pipe Medic for fast, friendly, and affordable service. We’re here when you need us. Call us today!