Weatherproof your wallet: How to avoid pipe bursts this winter

As cold weather bears down on much the nation, the priority of many homeowners has turned to keeping their residences warm – and not spending unnecessary money to do it. With that in mind, burst pipes are a common problem for homes when the mercury drops.

When water freezes, it expands, creating tremendous pressure inside of the pipes that make up your plumbing system. If the pipes bursts, it’s going to cost a pretty penny to repair the water damage – and we don’t want that to happen.

Take these simple steps to avoid big headaches later

Here are some ways to prevent your pipes from bursting in frigid weather:

Let one faucet in the home drip throughout the night

As the temperatures continue to plummet throughout cold nights, it’s a good idea to run the faucets – at least one – at a thin stream or drip so that pressure won’t build inside your pipes. Letting it run throughout the night ensures that your home will keep its water pressure during the coldest part of the day.

Install insulation to better control room temperature

Another way to protect your pipes is to install insulation behind the scenes in your home – the crawl space, basement, attic, etc. Insulation will help to stabilize room temperatures at a comfortable level and above freezing, which is when your pipes are in jeopardy.

Don’t forget to drain water hoses

Homeowners may have everything buttoned up inside their residences, but totally forget about the water hoses outside their homes. The Red Cross gives some valuable advice on this, saying, “Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.”

Know where your shutoff valve is

Every home’s water main has a shutoff valve. It is the junction that connects the residential line to the community’s water supply. Homeowners should know how to shut off their water main in case of a leak or if a pipe bursts for one reason or another. In most homes, the water main will be in the basement, crawl space or just outside the home.

Look into insulating your water pipes

You may have some areas of your home where pipes are especially susceptible to cold weather, like under the kitchen or bathroom sinks. In these cases you might want to think about buying harnesses that wrap around pipes. There are several products that you can find in hardware stores that will do the job. For example, you could try a “pipe sleeve” or “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar products.

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Caring for your home is already one of your biggest expenses, but you can avoid costly repairs if you follow these steps.

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