8 Tips from Charter’s Bob Nelson
Winter has arrived, and that means we are all starting to pull out our winter clothes and bundling up to try to keep warm. At the same time, it is important to remember that the pipes on your house need protection from the cold as well (particularly if the mercury drops down into the 20’s Fahrenheit). To get everyone started on the winter preparation process, we checked in with our own Charter team member, Bob Nelson, who provided the following eight tips on preventing pipes from freezing:
- Disconnect your outdoor water hoses from their spigots in the winter, or before the temperature drops below freezing. If the water inside the hose freezes, the freezing can continue back into the spigot until it reaches your pipes – and that’s when the real problems can start because any pipe that freezes can burst.
- Take steps to insulate all water pipes that could be exposed to cold moving air - and keep them dry. Pipes that are inside an exterior wall are particularly vulnerable. Use insulation to wrap and protect exposed pipes, yet be aware that insulation alone does not prevent freezing, it only slows down the transfer rate of the cold weather to the pipe(s). If you have exposed pipes, you may want to use heat tape during very cold weather.
- If you plan to be away from your home during the cold weather season – or even for a few days – leave the heat on in your home. It is a good idea to set the temperature no lower than 60° F.
- If you have an outdoor sprinkler system, turn off your sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the irrigation lines to drain all the water out of the system.
- A good way to protect exterior faucets (even if they are of the “freeze proof” type) is to cover them with insulated foam covers that are readily available at very low cost at your local hardware store.
- For a longer-term approach, add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will help to maintain higher temperatures in those areas.
- Ensure that all your crawlspace vents are closed and if possible install Styrofoam blocks to cover each vent.
- And just in case, locate the main water shut off valve so that if a pipe does freeze, you can turn off the water supply and limit the amount of damage that might otherwise be caused by un-checked water flowing through the break (broken pipe leaks from freezing often do not manifest themselves until the pipe has thawed out).
Being prepared and informed will help you to avoid the messy and expensive issue of frozen pipes – that is certainly the objective of taking the above steps. That said, if you do have a problem, please call us here at Charter. We would love to help you with prevention, and alternatively, should you have a pipe burst, our Disaster Solutions Team is available 24-7 to stop the leak and repair the damage. Call 206-382-1900 in Seattle or 503-546-2600 in Portland.