Welcome to Inspector Pumphead’s classroom once again! This week’s lesson is an important one. The Inspector happened to look out his window the other day and noticed it’s still cold outside. The Inspector loves hot cocoa and skiing just as much as the next world renowned pump expert but one thing about winter that gives him the chills is the potential for frozen pipes. The Inspector is getting goose bumps just thinking about it. How can a pump properly function if the plumbing system around it isn’t functioning?
The Inspector cares about pumps almost more than world peace so he has decided to make a list of preventative measures you can take in order to keep your pipes from freezing.
Turn up the Heat
The Inspector’s first tip is perhaps the most obvious sounding on this list. If you decide to go away during the winter (hopefully you’re vacationing in a warm place, the Inspector recommends Cancun), it’s a good idea to keep the heat on while you’re away. Paying a little money for the heating bill can save the money it’s going to cost if a pipe freezes and bursts. A good rule of thumb to follow is setting the heat above 50 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re away. If you’re not going away this winter, it can also be beneficial to keep the temperature consistent in your home during both day and night.
Let the Faucet Drip
Allowing a slight drip from a faucet relieves pressure in a system. Even a trickle can help prevent pipes from freezing. When a pipe freezes, it is the pressure created between the blockage and faucet that causes the pipe to burst. An open faucet can prevent pressure from building up. If a faucet has both cold and hot taps, open both slightly. If a faucet has a single handle, set the faucet to warm.
Seal off Cracks and Holes
Exposed pipes are more vulnerable to cold air. Common places where cracks occur are window and door frames as well as in the back of cabinets. Make sure that if you notice an exposed pipe, you seal it up. Seals help to contain warm air and protect against cold drafts. A caulk or spray foam insulation make for effective seals.
Open up Cabinet Doors
Opening cabinet doors, especially in rooms like kitchens and bathrooms where there is more plumbing, is an easy measure to take in the war against frozen pipes. Doing this will allow warmer air to circulate and balance the temperature in a house. You don’t need to keep your cabinets open all winter (the Inspector doesn’t have the will power to fight against snacks staring at him in the face that long) but this is a good idea to do periodically. Remember to protect your food and keep anything harmful in the cabinets away from pets or children as well.
Some pipes may need more insulation than others depending on where they’re located. Extra insulation will help keep the pipe the same temperature as the water inside it. Materials such as foam rubber or fiberglass can be fitted onto pipes for extra insulation. Please keep in mind a pipe will still freeze if it is exposed to freezing temperatures for an extended period of time.
The Inspector hopes these tips help. If you experience any issues with frozen pipes there are always solutions such as allowing hot water to run which can melt the ice in the pipe. Of course if things get really serious, calling your local plumber is never a bad idea.
As always, if you are in need of a pump, pump accessory, or just have a pump question and need a friendly voice to talk to, call our pump experts. They can give you advice on how best to maintain your pump during the winter months.
Pump Products application engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, stocking availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800 to speak to an expert today.