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10 Ways to Prevent a Burst Pipe

Once you experience a burst pipe, you may consider having the best underground water pipe installed to avoid dealing with this issue again. Homes in warmer climates, with exposed lines, are prone to burst pipes in cold weather. But it doesn’t have to be extremely cold for a pipe to fail. Here are 10 ways you can prevent a burst pipe no matter the time of year.

1. Insulate Exposed Pipes

Any basement, attic, or exterior wall pipe is more vulnerable to cold temperatures. It will freeze if the temperature gets to 32℉ or lower. Once ice forms inside the pipe, it will expand and put pressure on the walls until they crack. Wrapping the pipe with fiberglass or foam insulation is the most effective way to protect it. But you can also use a towel, newspaper, or plastic wrap on short notice for the occasional cold spell.

2. Install Heat Tape

Heat tape attaches to pipes and uses electricity to produce heat and prevent freezing. It looks like a type of extension cord and plugs into an outlet. Using a small amount of electricity, heat tape can save in repairs, which far offsets any increase in energy usage.

3. Improve Your Home’s Insulation

Unheated areas and underinsulated rooms pose a high risk to pipes in winter. If some parts of your home are traditionally colder than others, install or improve insulation. Sealing drafty windows and doors can also keep the temperature warm enough to prevent a burst pipe.

4. Open a Faucet in Extreme Cold

On cold days, open a faucet or two enough to drip slowly. This works because moving water does not freeze as easily. Open taps served by exposed pipes and start with the farthest faucet from the main source of water; this will allow for water movement in a larger part of your plumbing system.

5. Open Kitchen/Bathroom Cabinet Doors

Pipes behind the sink and other cabinet doors, especially those near exterior walls, can more easily freeze in cold weather. Open these doors to prevent a burst pipe. It will allow heated air to circulate within the cabinets and therefore keep the pipes above freezing. If necessary, set up a space heater near a cold cabinet so the pipes stay warm.

6. Keep Indoor Temperatures Consistent

Maintaining a constant temperature is more important than raising the thermostat higher, which can strain your furnace. Consistency will keep pipes warmer. And, don’t shut off your HVAC system even if you leave for a few days. Set the temperature to at least 55℉. The energy usage won’t cost as much as a burst pipe and the expensive water damage it can cause. 

7. Secure Loose Pipes

Banging and clanging noises from inside walls mean pipes are shifting due to water movement and/or a lack of support. When you hear water hammer, have a plumber assess the issue. Loose pipes should be secured. Otherwise, they can weaken and eventually break.

8. Regulate Water Pressure

High water pressure can weaken a pipe and cause it to burst. Using a pressure gauge, you can check your water pressure, which should be between 30 and 50 psi. Call a plumber if it exceeds 60 psi. They can adjust the pressure or install a valve to regulate pressure throughout the system.

9. Replace Corroded Pipes

You should have your pipes inspected regularly. If any are corroded, they should be replaced to avoid dealing with a burst pipe. Corrosion weakens pipe walls and happens naturally over time. Hard water and some bacteria can accelerate the process, so consult with a plumber on the best solution to slow down corrosion. They can also suggest when to replace aging pipes.

10. Install Temperature Monitors and Controls

A freeze alarm can alert you when indoor temperatures start to drop. You can then take steps to protect vulnerable pipes from freezing. A hot water circulating pump is another option. It monitors the water temperature in your plumbing system and delivers hot water from the water heater when the temperature falls below a predetermined level, warming cold sections of plumbing.

Call Village Plumbing for Pipe Repair or Advice

If a pipe bursts, freezes, or looks worn or damaged, Village Plumbing can resolve the problem right away. We can also suggest solutions such as the best underground water pipe to install that would be less prone to freezing in cold weather. If you have questions about our tips to prevent a burst pipe, our friendly staff will be happy to answer them. For more information or to schedule service, call 713-526-1491 today.

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