We thought frozen pipes have been a fear we’d left behind by shifting to Florida, however final month’s arctic blast despatched our temperatures plummeting into the low 20s for 3 nights in a row (with an all-time low of 18 levels, which they’re calling a once-in-a-century occasion right here in Northwest, FL).
This was particularly regarding as a result of Florida houses in our space aren’t at all times constructed with this climate in thoughts. Frozen pipes are unhealthy information as a result of water expands when it freezes, doubtlessly inflicting pipes to burst or crack, resulting in leaking or flooding.
Fortunately, with a couple of simple prevention steps we efficiently stored our pipes from freezing! Which, sadly, isn’t one thing quite a lot of our neighbors can say. Many individuals we all know had a difficulty with a pipe or two bursting – so we’re extraordinarily grateful that the steps we took stored ours protected. Listed here are 5 issues that labored for us, together with a tip from a neighborhood plumber that saved our outside bathe!
Tip 1: Determine Your Drawback Pipes
The very first thing to do is assess the plumbing in your house for spots which are particularly vulnerable to freezing. This step lets you prioritize your efforts and tells you what areas you must hold an in depth eye on as soon as the temperatures drop. This contains however isn’t restricted to:
- Outside plumbing fixtures like hose bibs or outside showers
- Pipes in unconditioned areas like garages, attics, or crawl areas
- Plumbing on exterior partitions
- Pipes closed off from warmth sources, like in indoor cabinetry or closets
- Pipes uncovered to wind, like on docks
- Uninsulated pipes wherever
For us, our major concern was our exterior plumbing – specifically our water heater (seen above), outdoor shower, and hose bibs. We have been much less involved about our inside plumbing as a result of we have been unlikely to lose energy/warmth (because of our whole-house generator & the peace of thoughts that offers us), and shedding inside warmth is normally what endangers indoor pipes. However listed here are some suggestions for preventing frozen pipes when your heat goes out, simply in case.
Tip 2: Add Insulation To Your Pipes
A few of our exterior pipes have been already insulated, just like the water heater proven above. However lots of them weren’t together with a protracted part of copper pipe operating to our outside bathe (you may see it uncovered in this post). In order quickly as we noticed the forecast, we beat the push to the shop and acquired a number of lengths of self-sealing foam tubular pipe insulation. They’re simple to put in and solely price about $3 for a 6-foot tube. Simply make sure you decide up some elbows and tees as wanted too
It took us about quarter-hour to put in the froth tubes on any uninsulated outside pipes. In spots the place we couldn’t match a full tube, we used a few of this adhesive insulating tape as a substitute. This labored nicely on a few of the knobby sections of sure hose bibs or the place some pipes have been put in snugly to the siding.
Lastly, we additionally double-checked a few of the plumbing in our attic to ensure it was sufficiently coated in insulation. We’ve got blown insulation up there and a few of it had gotten moved off of a bit of pipe, so we simply brushed it again over. We learn time and again that even when your plumbing is inside, if it’s uninsulated and in an attic, basement, or storage it may nonetheless freeze and burst (actually my aunt in Richmond had that problem with a pipe in her storage final yr when it acquired further chilly up there).
Tip 3: Drip Your Taps
This tip is an oldie, however a goodie. Shifting water can’t freeze as rapidly as stagnant water, so forcing your pipes to maintain flowing – even only a trickle! – is an effective way to stop frozen pipes. Simply don’t overlook to drip each your chilly and scorching water strains. We learn fairly a couple of articles that mentioned you simply must drip the chilly, however that positively tripped up a few our neighbors and so they had the new water strains burst! So we positively had a totally profitable consequence by barely dripping each.
It was simple to drip the cold and warm water strains inside. Within the lavatory, we simply turned each the new & chilly levers on barely. And within the kitchen, we set our faucet midway between scorching & chilly and opened it to a tiny trickle.
Our outside bathe was a bit trickier as a result of partaking the new water would imply turning the bathe on to a full spray, which was not one thing we have been desperate to do for 3 days straight whereas it wavered between lows of 18 and 22 levels. Fortunately, a neighborhood plumber gave us the tip to take away the showerhead and put a cap on it as a substitute. Buuuuuuut, as a substitute of screwing the cap on tightly, simply hand-tighten it in order that slightly little bit of water can nonetheless leak out. This allowed us to set the bathe to a center temperature (which ensured that water was barely shifting by means of the new water and the chilly water line), however nonetheless solely let it drip as a substitute of absolutely spraying 3 nights in a row. One in every of our buddies had their outside showers break through the deep freeze and he later realized he had solely let his chilly water drip, so the new water line was the one which froze and burst. And our neighbor throughout the road didn’t drip something exterior, so each of her bathe strains burst.
Simply to be secure, we stored all of our inside and exterior fixtures very barely dripping for the complete 3 days of our chilly snap. We commonly checked our outside fixtures to ensure they have been nonetheless evenly dripping and there wasn’t any ice build-up or blockage. We even put indicators on our indoor sinks to remind our children (and ourselves!) to not flip issues off in an early morning haze or late-night bout of forgetfulness.
And whereas it could really feel like an enormous “waste” of water to go away taps on for therefore lengthy, dripping ought to have negligible results in your water invoice. I learn a couple of articles that mentioned it was round 2-5 cents per sink per day. And consider it this fashion: it makes use of lots much less water than having an enormous leak that floods your home or yard!
Tip 4: Flip Your Water Totally Off
An alternate technique is to only absolutely flip the water off to your house or parts of your house. For example, if we had had a separate shut-off for our outside bathe, we probably would’ve finished that as a substitute. It’s not like anybody was going to bathe exterior in that climate! It’s additionally an excellent choice in the event you’re leaving city and gained’t be dwelling to maintain your taps dripping or to watch for leaks. We really flip off our important water anytime we go on a visit as a result of burst pipes can occur in any climate (now we have a good friend who got here dwelling to a flooded first flooring in the summertime! AWFUL!).
Simply keep in mind that after shutting off the water, you continue to must launch the stress of the water that’s nonetheless sitting within the pipes. Discover your lowest plumbing fixture (normally an out of doors hose bib) and open it for a number of seconds till the circulation slows down. This was a tip from a plumber good friend in Cape Charles who instructed us that generally individuals flip off the water however don’t bear in mind to alleviate the stress and so they nonetheless come again to frozen pipes which have burst.
Tip 5: A Pool Appears Weak However Can Usually Deal with It
Like many Floridians, now we have a pool that we use year-round. It’s not coated or winterized or the rest that’s typical in colder climates (an open-year-round pool is the norm right here). This was our first vital chilly snap since our pool was completed so we have been fairly nervous at first. We noticed quite a lot of EXPOSED and UNSINULATED plumbing round our pool tools. Gulp.
However after talking with our pool cleaner (who’s from Kansas, so he is aware of chilly), we have been assured that our system can be high quality. Our Hayward controller has a built-in “Freeze Shield” mode that routinely engages each time the air temperature drops under 36 levels. This retains the pumps, fountains, spa jets, and pool heater operating on steady cycles to make sure that the water by no means sits too lengthy or will get too chilly. Plus, he reassured us, that if the controller have been to fail, it might take a very long time for our massive PVC pipes to freeze absolutely by means of and crack. Even older swimming pools with out “Freeze Shield” can normally simply be manually set to cycle water and use the pumps to maintain issues from freezing, in order that’s good to know.
Whereas we’d by no means advise you to not fear about your pool in any respect, we discovered quite a lot of consolation in watching our pool hold itself secure through the chilly climate. We did completely nothing and it simply kicked issues on and off and moved water round for 4 stable days. We nonetheless checked on it to ensure we noticed the fountains flowing and spa effervescent periodically – however it was utterly self-sufficient and did an excellent job. So positively verify your system or seek the advice of your pool firm earlier than chilly climate to know what to anticipate out of your specific pool, but when it has considerably current expertise (like Freeze Shield) OR you may simply manually flip it on to maintain water flowing, you must hopefully be all good. Oh and it actually helps to make sure that you’ll probably preserve energy. A number of individuals have back-up turbines right here for that peace of thoughts.
Tip #6: Nothing’s Foolproof…
Typically, the following tips is probably not sufficient to cease each single potential drawback with pipes freezing relying in your specific state of affairs and climate occasion, however we’re extraordinarily glad we took these precautions and so they positively helped us really feel lots higher about going into this newest arctic blast and, for us no less than, they stored us from experiencing any plumbing points in any respect.
Extra Freezing Climate Preparations
Along with prepping our pipes for this unusually chilly Florida climate, we additionally took a number of steps to protect our plants from freezing. You’ll be able to learn the 6 steps we took, together with which of them labored higher than others right here in this post.
And once more, in the event you occur to expertise your warmth going out, we’ve written a submit all about how to prevent frozen pipes when your heat goes out.
*This submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks, so we could earn a small fee once you make a purchase order by means of hyperlinks on our web site at no extra price to you.