When temperatures get close to freezing, homeowners are at risk of frozen pipes. Water trapped in unprotected pipelines expands as it freezes and can cause them to break. However, a few precautions can greatly reduce your risk of pipe breaks (and may even help with your winter heating efficiency)!
- Drain all outdoor hoses
Detaching hoses from outdoor faucets allows water to drain from the pipe.
- Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas
If you have pipelines in an unheated garage or cold crawl space under the house, wrap the water pipes before temperatures plummet.
- Seal off access doors, air vents, and cracks
Winter winds can quickly freeze exposed water pipes. However, do not plug air vents your furnace or water heater need for proper ventilation.
- Find the master shutoff valve
In case of a water leak, everyone in the family needs to know where it is and what it does. Click here for more information on how to turn the water on/off to your home. It’s usually where the water line comes into your house from the street (near the hose bib). Maintaining low heat in your home does not necessarily ensure that your pipes will not freeze during extremely cold weather events. However, taking the precautions mentioned above could help with your heating efficiency and save you the headaches and expense of frozen or broken pipes.
- Don't forget about your backflow device!
A number of manufacturer’s carry insulated bags and boxes to protect backflow devices from freezing temps. However, simply covering the pipes with insulated wrap on both sides, leaving the valve itself exposed, should be sufficient. Homeowners may wish to construct an insulated wood box to cover the device – similar to an air conditioning unit cover. Just make sure it has a minimum 1 foot clearance all around.
The images below show a examples of good backflow insulation...