Cold, freezing temperatures seem to have hit earlier than expected this year. Are your pipes are ready for winter weather? No matter the type of building, a burst pipe can prove to be costly and devastating. Take, for example, Washington Elementary, which experienced a burst pipe that damaged property such as library books and carpets. Luckily, school staff was in the building shortly after the pipe burst, so the damage was not as bad as it could have been.
How to Prevent Pipes from Bursting
Ever notice how a can of soda explodes in the freezer? This is because water expands when it freezes quickly. The same happens in pipes full of water: the expanding cold water places too much pressure within the pipe and causes it to burst. The following tips will help prevent this expensive disaster from happening in your home and office:
Insulate on the fly. When the temperatures are going to dip and you do not have pipe insulation from the hardware store, use newspapers and plastic grocery bags as a quick fix. Wrap the newspaper around vulnerable pipes, secure the paper with strong tape and cover the newspaper with plastic bags.
Heat tape and pipe insulation. When you are able to make it to the hardware store, purchase heat tape and pipe insulation. Place the heat tape around the most vulnerable pipes and cover them with insulation.
Let it flow. One of the best ways to prevent water from freezing within pipes is by letting the water continuously flow. This is because running water does not freeze. Allow a trickle of water that is the same diameter as a pencil to flow from a faucet to prevent bursting pipes. Although this method seems wasteful, there are creative ways to use the water. For example, use the water to hydrate indoor plants or place the water in a rain barrel for summertime garden watering. Keep in mind that the cost of continuously running water is, in the end, cheaper than having to repair pipes, damaged walls and ceilings, wet documents and wet books.