Deep freezes are rare in Georgia, but we know they can sometimes happen. Here in the South, homeowners are often inexperienced with frozen pipes. Couple that with the fact that homes are often not built to protect pipes from winter’s worst, and you can have an expensive disaster on your hands.
Here’s what can happen when temperatures plummet, and how to avoid it.
How Pipes Freeze
Pipes freeze when temperatures fall low enough to turn the water in them to ice. The ice expands and cracks the pipes or fittings; when the ice thaws, a leak ensues — sometimes turning into a flood, depending on the type of pipe, the location and the severity of the crack.
Pipes in uninsulated, unheated areas such as attics, garages, foundations, crawl spaces, basements and exterior walls are prone to freezing. On particularly cold nights, pipes located against or near an exterior wall may also freeze.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Protecting your pipes from extreme temperatures is in most cases a job you can tackle as a do-it-yourself project. Follow these suggestions:
- When the temperature plunges, turn up the thermostat. Even if your pipes are not well insulated, a few more degrees of heat could save them.
- Drain water out of exterior hoses and faucets. Disconnect hoses, shut off valves to exterior faucets and wrap faucets in insulation.
- Place a space heater wherever it’s practical to keep pipes from freezing, such as poorly heated rooms or garages. Some locations where pipes are prone to freezing: underneath a sink, inside exterior walls or in a garage. Leave cabinet doors open so the heat can reach the pipes.
- Leave a trickle of water from a faucet — one for each floor of the house.
- Wrap fiberglass insulation around exposed pipes in crawl spaces, basements and attics.
- Install a heating cable, and follow instructions, wrapping it around the pipe or laying it alongside.
- Seal basements and crawl spaces as tightly as possible with insulation, caulking or weatherstripping.
For additional tips on avoiding frozen pipes, contact Powers Heating and Air. We serve customers in Fayette and Coweta counties.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about plumbing and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.
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