It’s been brutally cold here in Minnesota lately. And for homeowners, that can only mean one thing: the threat of frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can be a serious problem if they do burst and — depending on the damage — can cost quite a bit to fix. Not to mention it creates a mess and leaves you without running water.
If you’re new to Minnesota, or if you’re a new homeowner, keep reading.
Obviously, the best way of avoiding frozen water pipes is learning what to do to prevent it from happening in the first place. It doesn’t take much effort to insulate and prepare waterlines for freezing temps.
Here are a few ways you can prevent frozen pipes:
Insulate Water Pipes Whenever Possible: One major step in preventing frozen pipes is to ensure your pipes have some type of insulation. You can purchase foam pipe insulation covers from any hardware store. In a pinch you can also wrap old blankets or even newspaper around the pipes. As an added bonus, insulating your pipes properly will also help cut energy costs for heating water overall.
Disconnect All Outside Hoses and Water Lines: This is especially important for people who live in a country setting and have multiple sources of water around their property. Generally, you aren’t going to be using very many hoses during winter, especially if you switch to water buckets for livestock. Shut off outside water lines that won’t be used until spring. Don’t forget to empty out the hoses as well.
Also, even if you don’t have outside water lines to worry about, at least know how to shut off the water line in your home. This will be important if a pipe does burst in your home.
Keep House Warm Even If You’re Away: It is usually recommended to drop your house’s temp if you’re away for the holidays during winter. Doing so helps your electric bill but can spell disaster for areas that freeze. The last thing you want is for your pipes to freeze and possibly burst when you aren’t even home to deal with it. Try to keep your house at a minimum of 68 F when you are away.
Keep Cupboards Open for Air Circulation: Another tip that works when you are home or away is keeping open bathroom and kitchen cupboards if possible. Doing this will help warm air in your home reach the pipes easier.
Use a Space Heater for Very Cold Winters: If you’ve had past issues with freezing pipes or recently moved to an area that gets really cold, have a space heater or two on hand as a preventative measure. You probably won’t have to run the heater the entire winter but rather use it on very cold days. It is also important to have an extra space heater on hand if pipes do freeze.
Let Faucets Drip: This seems odd but works very well. It is more difficult for pipes to freeze if the water is moving, even if slowly. At night or on extremely cold days turn on the faucet just until it begins dripping water. Aside from preventing frozen pipes it also will alert you if pipes are starting to freeze.
Take all of these preventative measures and you should be in good shape this winter. Surviving a Minnesota winter is tricky enough, no need to add frozen pipes to the mix!