Winters can be extremely cold in the Centennial State. While those low temperatures usually come with the best powder snow in the world, they are surely very hard to bear and not only for humans, but for buildings as well. Cold weather can be dangerous for the pipes in your Colorado home – when the water inside the pipes freezes, it starts expanding, causing tension in the affected pipe and posing the risk of cracking and water damage. Fortunately, the issue can be avoided – here are some tips how.
Methods to Prevent Freezing in Outdoor Pipes
Outdoor pipes are directly exposed to freezing temperatures, therefore they need to be emptied before the first frost. Check each of your outdoor pipes and disconnect the water supply to them as close to your building as possible (even very short faucets can freeze and burst, so having as little water as possible in the outdoor system is very important). If you have hoses outside, disconnect them and move them inside for the winter – plastic does not stand up well to freezing and becomes rigid and brittle if kept in the cold for too long.
You will need to protect the pipes and fixtures that you cannot remove, too. The best way to do that is to cover these exposed pipes and fixtures with thick sponge, heat tape or, even better, with hose bib covers (covers made from cold-resistant foam and available in various shapes and sizes for surrounding faucets, hoses, spigots and pipes).
Keeping Pipes Safe from Freezing in Vacant Buildings
Not only outdoor pipes are at risk of damage by freezing – pipes can freeze in buildings that are not inhabited as well, even a short period when the temperature inside the building approaches the outdoor temperature can pose dangers. The only solution to the issue is to keep the heating on – you don’t need your heating to run all the time and you don’t need to have temperatures that are comfortable for humans, but the temperature inside shouldn’t drop under 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. To limit the energy consumption, close the doors in the rooms that do not have plumbing and open the closet doors under sinks to allow warm water to reach to your pipes.
Keeping Pipes Safe in a Building Left without Heating
Having a broken heating system in winter is the worst nightmare of any homeowner, but even the best-kept, professionally maintained HVAC can break down and chances are that it happens when you need your heaters the most. The first thing to do is to contact a HVAC specialist for the repair and to prepare for the hardships – if the technician finds an issue that takes more than a couple of hours to fix, you will probably need to move out of the house until the heating is operational again. Unheated buildings become very cold very quickly, so protecting the temperature-sensitive elements in your building, such as the pipes, is very important. The method is very similar to the method used for protecting the pipes in a vacant building, but without running the heating: open the closet doors under sinks and close the doors on the rooms to slow down the heat evaporation process. As an additional measure, run some water (preferable warm water) in the pipes to warm them a bit and to relieve the tension inside the pipes.
If despite your best efforts, you end up with a burst pipe and subsequent water damage, immediately call professional companies that do water clean up near me for expert restoration services.