If you are an Upstate SC homeowner and haven’t already taken action to protect your pipes from freezing and bursting, now may be a good time to do so. Temperatures Yesterday (January 6th, 2014) ranged from 10 to 15 degrees for lows and the low 40’s for a high around the Greenville/Spartanburg area. Today the low will range from 17 to 20 degrees for a low and the mid 20’s for a high.
When the temperatures drop this low, burst pipes are likely to be a significant problem across the Greenville and Spatanburg area. If you have not already it is a good idea to shut off the water to the outside of your home.
You may wonder exactly why pipes freeze.
Here are some tips from your friendly neighborhood Greenville plumbers to keep your pipes from freezing. Pipes freeze due to water expanding as it freezes. When the water expands its puts a lot of stress on any container it is in, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter how strong you think your pipes may be, expanding water can cause them to break. Particular attention needs to be paid to pipes that are exposed to severe cold, such as swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and outdoor hose bibs. Any pipes that are located in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets as well pipes that run along exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also at high risk of freezing.
- Detach any hoses that are used outdoors and store them till weather becomes warmer. Also make sure to drain all your outside hoses as well. Close any inside valves that supply outdoor hose bibs. Allow water to drain by opening the outside hose bibs around your home. Keep any outside valves slightly open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Open all the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under sinks and any other areas that house plumbing pipes to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Also make sure to keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- When the temperature is very cold outside, slightly open all the faucets in your home to allow the water to drip. Doing this will allow water to run through the pipe and help prevent them from freezing.
- Set your thermostat at a constant temperature for both day and night. This may cost you a little more on your power bill by running the heat more often, but you can prevent a much more costly plumbing repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
- If you leave your home for any significant time such as on vacation or a weekend trip leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
- Especially in older homes you should consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a pipe sleeve or installing UL-listed heat tape on exposed water pipes.
- Before it starts getting cold outside check the insulation around your pipes to ensure they are properly insulated. In Upstate SC October and early November are good times to do this. As temperatures do not typically drop significantly until December through early March.
- It may also be a good idea to add additional insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Adding insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.