You’ll probably find a lot more information in a desert survival guide about coping with summer’s heat during a power outage than how to prevent freezing pipes. Infrequent as it is, temperatures do drop low enough in the winter to freeze water pipes. Losing the convenience of running water until they thaw is enough of a hardship. However, it’s a lot worse when the pipes burst and you’re dealing with an uncontrolled flood. The only way to prevent burst pipes is to keep them from freezing.
Insulate the Walls
If you have a wall that’s chronically cold or hot, consider adding blown-in insulation. Dollar for dollar, insulation packs a high return on the investment. Not only will it keep your pipes from freezing, insulation lowers your cooling and heating bills and lasts for decades.
Turn up the Heat
Instead of turning down the thermostat at night, keep the temperature the same as you would in the daytime when a freeze warning is in effect. The warmer temperatures will radiate more heat through the walls and into the attic, which may prevent freezing pipes. It will raise your heating bill, but that’s a small amount compared the cost of repairing burst pipes and the water damage they cause.
Let the Water Flow
Water running through your pipes may stop the pipes from freezing. Let the kitchen faucet and a bathroom faucet dribble overnight. It does waste water, but nothing compared to the amount of water that can spray out of a broken pipe. If the pipe is inside a wall cavity, you may not notice that water is leaking until you hear it running or see signs of wet drywall or floors.
Open Cabinet Doors
Keeping the cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom sinks open may keep the walls and floors warm enough to prevent freezing pipes.
Let the Swimming Pool Pump Run
Water sitting in the swimming pool’s plumbing can freeze, which might add up to an expensive repair bill. Pool experts recommend letting the pump run during the night. It’s important to know that the coldest temperatures occur just after sunrise in the deserts. The colder air sinks as the sun warms the air, so even though it might be light outside, keep the pump running until daytime temperatures reach 32 degrees.
All it may take to prevent an outdoor spigot from freezing is a towel of a blanket thrown over it. If the water supply line into your home is above ground, be sure to wrap covering around the entire pipe.
Turn off the Timers
Outdoor popup and drip irrigation systems can freeze since the pipes are close to the ground. The best way to prevent freezing pipes in the yard is to turn the water off to the irrigation system as well as the timer.
Wrap the Pipes
If your property has an unheated or uninsulated outbuilding like a shed or barn, consider wrapping the water pipes with insulation. Home centers sell pipe insulation that’s easy to install or you can craft your own using pool noodles. You may also want to wrap the pipes with heat tape if you have horses or cattle to prevent dehydration and more serious illnesses should the water in the pipes freeze.
Weather cold enough to freeze occurs in the Phoenix area from November through mid-March. Frozen and burst pipes can cause serious damage to your home over and above the cost of repairing them. Contact Forrest Anderson if you have any issues with the pipes in your home.