Although winter does not officially arrive until next week, the frigid temperatures of the past few mornings remind us that this is the season to bundle up. And we are not just talking about putting on a heavy coat and gloves. This is the time of the year when we caution homeowners to make sure their water pipes are protected from the cold.
Any exposed water pipe — regardless of whether it is copper or plastic — is vulnerable to freezing.
Pipes that are most likely to freeze are those that are exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor faucets, swimming pool supply lines and water sprinkler lines. Water supply pipes in unheated areas inside the home, such as basements, crawl spaces and garages, also can freeze. Water pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
The first line of defense against the cold is to insulate pipes located in unheated portions of the house, such as exterior walls, crawl spaces, basements, cabinets or any enclosures where air can’t circulate.
You can use heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables to wrap pipes. Be sure to follow all the manufacturer’s installation and operation instructions.