When temperatures plunge below 20°F, your pipes are in danger of freezing. Cold weather turns the water left in your pipes to solid ice. As water freezes, it expands and creates a blockage. This causes increased water pressure, which in turn causes breakage and bursts. Frozen pipes are a homeowner's nightmare. Even just one burst or broken pipe can result in extensive water damage. Prevention is key.
In preparing your pipes for subzero temps, first identify exposed pipes that are at most risk of freezing. Most homes in the Olathe area are built to withstand extreme fluctuations in temperature, which means that the pipes are inside and protected from direct contact with cold air. It's still helpful to check unheated parts of your home, such as garages, attics, crawl spaces, and basements, which often get cold enough for pipes to freeze. Outdoors, swimming pool and sprinkler supply lines are also at risk. In very cold weather, pipes in the exterior walls or beneath kitchen cabinets can freeze, especially if there is poor insulation.
Once you've figured out where the problem areas are located, it's time to take action. If you can, go ahead and insulate all of your home's exposed pipes with foam insulation. This will serve you for many cold winters to come. You can always call your trusted Olathe plumber for assistance. They'll be happy to insulate your pipes and give you more useful tips to prevent them from freezing.
Outside the home, be sure to drain and put away garden hoses. Does your home have indoor valves that supply outdoor hose bibs? Be sure to close them tightly. Any outdoor hose bibs should be left open so water can continue to drain. If there's any water left in the pipes, it will have room to expand without causing breakage.
Indoors, you can stave off freezing by leaving your water on. Even just a slow drip is enough to keep water moving so it doesn't get trapped in the pipes and freeze. Leave cabinet doors open to keep warm air circulating around pipes in the kitchen and bathroom. Open up attics and crawl spaces as much as possible to allow circulation. Open the heater vent in your basement to keep it from getting too frigid.
During the cold snap, keep your house as temperate as possible. Avoid fluctuations by keeping your thermostat set at the same temperature regardless of whether you are at home or asleep. If you have to leave home for a long time, you can reduce the heat to 55-60°F to avoid an astronomically-high utility bill. Just be sure that your heater keeps going while you are away!
Sometimes even our best preventative measures can fail, especially in severe winter weather. If your pipes freeze or burst, call an Olathe plumber immediately. The capable, friendly professionals at Davenport Services offer friendly and fast service to area homeowners.