Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing
For the most part, Oklahoma winters are pretty mild, but there are occasions when Mother Nature decides to slam the Sooner State with below-freezing temperatures, severe wind chills, and ice, snow, and sleet. Although these frigid conditions rarely last long, they can cause serious damage while they’re here, including freezing the pipes in your house.
Because they rarely see below-freezing temperatures, few homes in this part of the country may not have properly insulated pipes, especially in older homes where water pipes may be in unheated areas like the attic, crawlspaces, or garage. And, even though most of today’s homes are built with water pipes tucked into the home’s building insulation, there may still be areas of pipe that are more exposed to colder temperatures.
When the outside temperature reaches 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below, even just for a few hours, any water that is in exposed water pipes, sprinkler lines, and swimming pool supply is more likely to freeze. The frozen water expands, exerting substantial pressure on the pipes or lines and causing them to burst, crack, swell, or break, or just generally weaken the pipe. A small crack can spray hundreds of gallons of water and cause thousands of dollars in damage, and homeowner’s insurance may only cover the cost of the damage and not the repair of the pipe, wreaking havoc on your wallet.
Chances are, if a pipe has frozen, it has probably already cracked. Be on the lookout for signs of a frozen or freezing pipe, such as:
Frost on the outside of a pipe
A crack or bulge in a pipe with ice seeping out of it
No water or very low water pressure when a faucet is used
Puddles, water rings, or dampness on drywall or the ceiling (if pipes are in the ceiling)
Whistling or banging sounds coming from the pipes
Strange bubbling sounds when you flush a toilet
Foul odors from a drain or faucet that are unable to filter out of the frozen pipe and are forced back into the home
Contact a licensed plumber as soon as possible if you notice any of these indicators that you may have a frozen pipe.
Additional steps include:
Avoid use of appliances near water. Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. You could be electrocuted.
Shut off the water supply. If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valves and how to open and close it. Be sure to leave the water faucets turned on.
When it comes to keeping your pipes from freezing, prevention is absolutely the best approach and can save you thousands in damage or repair costs.
Tips to help prevent pipes from freezing:
Prep outdoor hoses, valves and faucets. Before winter hits, disconnect garden hoses and cover exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or caps.
Let water drip. A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight when temperatures are cold, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
Adjust the thermostat. Keeping your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night also reduces the risk of frozen pipes. During extreme cold, this also helps reduce the strain on the furnace.
Open cabinet doors. This allows heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
Ways to help avoid frozen pipes while on vacation
Winterizing your home before you leave not only helps prevent problems, but it also gives you peace of mind so you can truly relax on vacation and enjoy the time away, rather than worry about your water pipes.
A few things to remember include:
Check the thermostat. Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.33 degrees Celsius). Also be sure to replace the battery in your thermostat.
Ask for help. Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it's warm enough to prevent freezing.
Shut off the water. Shut off and drain the water system.
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of frozen pipes is to build your home right from start. Home Creations homes are built to withstand whatever Oklahoma weather throws at you, with standard features like:
Navien tankless water heaters for an endless supply of hot water
R-44 attic insulation and radiant barrier roof decking for exceptional temperature regulation in the attic that prevents extreme changes
Low-E thermalpane vinyl windows with argon gas to reduce the amount of heat loss from your home
Energy-efficient HVAC systems and smart Ecobee3 Lite Thermostats to make sure your home stays comfortable
Ventless gas fireplaces to keep more heat in your home, use less gas, and emit less pollution
Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating between 42 and 46
Radiant barrier roof decking to prevent extreme temperature changes in the attic
With Home Creations, you can be confident that your home is built to exacting standards that exceed your expectations in safety, quality, and efficiency. From fire, water, and weather safety to state-of-the-art features from the inside out, Home Creations homes are among the best in Oklahoma. Contact one of our New Home Consultants and find your forever home today!