Winter is arguably the most difficult season for home maintenance. Just because you don’t have to mow the lawn doesn’t mean you can go into hibernation. The presence of ice, snow, and cold temperatures combine to make winter a nightmare for homeowners.
Frozen pipes are one of the hidden dangers of the coldest time of year. If these are left unchecked, they can burst. This has the potential to cause extensive damage if not immediately remedied. Even small fractures can lead to massive water damage. A half-inch leak can let out over 60,000 gallons of water in a single day. Imagine finding the aftermath of that in your basement. Here are some strategies for preventing frozen or burst pipes.
Turn Up the Heat
Simply turning up your thermostat can help you avoid catastrophe from a burst pipe. This is especially true in older homes, or ones without top-of-the-line insulation. Sure, your utility statement will be higher if you utilize this approach. In the grand scheme of things, the added cost will outweigh the potential disaster of a burst.
Get More Insulation
Nobody wants to spend money on something as boring as insulation. It’s a purchase that you won’t even get to see. But insulation is your best friend when it comes to preventing burst pipes. You want to keep heat inside your home, and cold outside. Good insulation can do this. It can also save you money on heat in the long run if you live in a cold climate.
Winterize Basements and Crawl Spaces
Places that aren’t connected to central heating are most at risk for burst pipes, such as basements and crawl spaces. These areas are sometimes rarely sealed from the elements.
Try to identify areas letting cold air into the basement, then seal them. You will also want to double-check your homeowner’s insurance policy. Most will offer protection for burst pipes. But it doesn’t hurt to get home insurance quotes just to be safe.
Use a Heating Cable
Heating cables can be a relatively inexpensive way to nix frozen pipes. This is a long cord that you wrap around the plumbing. It then radiates heat to keep the pipes from getting too cold.
Get a Space Heater
A space heater does the same job. These units can typically be purchased for under 100 dollars. They can effectively warm up rooms. This probably won’t be super useful for large basements, unless you purchase several heaters. You should also expect a spike in your utility bill if you leave the space heater on all the time.
Turn Off the Water
For some people, the best solution might be to just turn off the water. Doing this will at least minimize damage in the event of a burst pipe. You should definitely consider this tactic if you plan on going out of town for an extended amount of time.
Burst pipes can be a major problem for homeowners. Luckily, there are some practical ways to limit the potential of being affected by a burst pipe.