Tips for Avoiding Frozen Pipes in Minnesota

A household 1/2" copper water pipe has frozen and cracked. The left pipe is hot water the right cold. Water is leaking from the crack into an unfinished basement area, the background is oriented strand board (OSB) and ice. This type of crack can happen in cold areas with poor insulation. The water inside the pipe freezes causing the crack, once water starts to flow a large amount of damage can quickly occur.

How do people in Minnesota keep their pipes from freezing? One of the scariest things that can happen to homeowners is having their pipes freeze. When this occurs, it can cost thousands of dollars in repairs to fix the damage and get the water flowing again. If you live in Minnesota, you know how harsh winters can be on your plumbing system. Fortunately, there are some steps that people can take to keep their pipes from freezing during winter. In this discussion, we’ll go over a few tips for avoiding frozen pipes so that you’ll never have to worry about being unprepared again.

Prevent Condensation From Forming on Pipes

When you live in a cold area, condensation forms on walls and windows during the winter months. When the water vapor from the outside enters your home through gaps in the house or leaks in your plumbing system, it will contribute to the condensation problem. That results in the formation of frost on your windows or ice accumulation on pipes in any area that doesn’t receive sufficient warmth. This can lead to pipes eventually bursting. To avoid the problem, you should use weather stripping where appropriate and ensure that basements and crawl spaces containing pipes are either insulated or marginally heated.

Insulate Your Pipes

The water inside your pipes freezes when the temperature outside them drops to below the freezing point, 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees centigrade). When water freezes, it expands. The more ice that forms inside them, the less pressure there is to keep water moving through your home’s pipes. If this happens for an extended period, you’ll develop a leak somewhere in your plumbing system. To avoid frozen pipes, insulate them! You can use plastic pipe sleeves or hose insulation when installing new fixtures or repairing damaged ones. You’ll want to insulate any exposed indoor plumbing lines such as those in crawl spaces and attics. However, this won’t always be enough when temperatures get extremely cold.

Open a Water Line

There are some warning signs that your pipes might be about to freeze. When the water coming from your system starts to turn yellow or the actual temperature of the water threatens to drop below 35 degrees, take this as an alert. You can provide additional protection for your pipes against freezing by keeping an indoor faucet slightly open. One is sufficient, and the stream doesn’t need be any more than a trickle.

Outside, it’s a different story. Thoroughly drain any outdoor lines. Any outdoor hoses should be removed and the water supply shut off to outdoor hose bibs.

Use Pressure Reducing Valves

Your water utility company helps prevent pipes from freezing during winter by lowering pressure levels in your home’s plumbing system. However, most people aren’t aware that valves are installed in their homes to lower local pressure. Most of the time, homeowners use these to reduce noises made by pressure-activated sump pumps. However, because they lower the water pressure at your faucets, they also reduce the chance of pipes freezing.

Consider Getting a Freeze Alarm

If you have to be away for an extended period and leave your house unattended in the winter, do not shut off the heat in some misguided attempt to economize and be frugal. The small amount you could save would be far outweighed by the cost of a plumbing disaster. Keeping your house warm in the winter is crucial to keeping your pipes from freezing.

There is really no substitute for your personal presence in the home to keep an eye on things, but for those times when that isn’t possible, consider investing in a freeze alarm system. This will monitor the temperature in your house and furnish a warning if it drops to a dangerous level. This should allow you to make arrangements and intervene before the pipes freeze and burst. You can select a type that sets off a red warning light to alert your neighbors, but the most popular kind sends a message directly to you via an email, phone call or text.

Rely on the Local Plumbing Experts

Every year, thousands of homeowners have their pipes burst as a direct result of frozen water. A large proportion of those incidents are preventable. It doesn’t take much effort to keep your home warm during the winter months, especially when you have expert assistance from Greeley Plumbing Heating & A/C. If you’d like, our highly trained professionals can help you winterize your plumbing system. We provide a complete range of plumbing services throughout Glenwood and the surrounding areas. We also handle heating and cooling installation, repair and maintenance as well as residential and commercial refrigeration, indoor air quality services and sheet metal fabrication. To speak with someone knowledgeable, just call us today.

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