I thought the frozen pipes were a worry I left behind when I moved to Florida, but last month’s Arctic blast caused temperatures to plummet to the low 20s for three nights in a row (the lowest ever recorded was 18 degrees). was). (his 1st degree event in his 100th anniversary here in Northwest Florida).
This was especially concerning as Florida homes in our area weren’t always built with this weather in mind.Frozen pipes are bad news. This is because when water freezes, it expands and can cause pipes to burst or crack, leading to leaks and flooding.
Luckily, we were able to keep our pipes from freezing by taking a few simple precautions. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many neighbors. A lot of people we know have had problems with pipes popping he one or two. Here are five things that worked for us, including tips from a local plumber who saved our outdoor shower.
Tip 1: Identify Problematic Pipes
The first thing to do is evaluate your home’s plumbing for areas that are particularly prone to freezing. This step helps you prioritize your work and tells you which areas need your attention when the temperature drops. This includes but is not limited to:
- Outdoor plumbing fixtures such as hose bibs and outdoor showers
- Pipes in non-air-conditioned areas such as garages, attics, and crawl spaces
- Exterior wall piping
- Pipes isolated from heat sources, such as indoor cabinets and closets
- Pipes exposed to the wind like docks
- Pipes that are not insulated anywhere
For us, our main concern was the external plumbing, namely the water heater (see above). outdoor shower, and a hose bib. We weren’t too worried about the plumbing in the room, as power/heat is less likely to be lost (thanks to generators throughout the house and the peace of mind it gave us).But here are some tips Prevents pipes from freezing when the heat dropsto make sure.
Tip 2: Add insulation to your pipes
Some of the external pipes are already insulated, like the water heater above. But many of them were not. For example, it included a long copper pipe leading to an outdoor shower ( this mailbox). As soon as I saw the weather forecast, I rushed to the store and bought some clothes. Self-sealing foam tubular pipe insulationIt’s easy to install and only costs about $3 for a 6 foot tube.be sure to pick up some elbow and tea as needed
It took me about 15 minutes to attach the foam tube to the uninsulated outdoor pipe.I used a few of these in places where a full tube wouldn’t fit adhesive insulating tape Instead. This worked well on some of the humped sections of certain hose bibs, or where some pipes were snugly attached to the siding.
Finally, I double-checked some of the attic plumbing to make sure it was well covered with insulation. I repainted it with a brush. I’ve read many times that plumbing can freeze and burst even if it’s indoors, uninsulated, and even in an attic, basement, or garage (in fact, my My aunt had that problem with the pipes in her garage last year (when it got even colder in there).
Tip 3: Let water drip from the faucet
This tip is old, but a good one. Moving water does not freeze as quickly as stagnant water. – A great way to keep pipes from freezing.don’t forget to catch a cold and hot water line. I’ve read quite a few articles about just dripping cold, but it definitely tripped a few of my neighbors and they burst the hot water line! I have no doubt that you have succeeded in
It was easy to droop the hot and cold water lines inside. In the bathroom, I turned both the hot and cold levers on just a little. In the kitchen, I set the faucet halfway between hot and cold and opened it to a small trickle.
Our outdoor shower was a little tricky, because running hot water meant turning the shower into a full spray. He advised me. Buuuuuut, instead of screwing the cap on tight, I just hand-tighten it and a little water can still leak out. Guaranteed to move slightly and cold water line), instead of spraying it completely for 3 nights in a row, just let it drip. He later realized he was just dripping cold water. And her neighbor across the street had nothing dripping outside, so both her shower lines burst.
To be safe, we left all of our interior and exterior fixtures slightly dripping during the three days of the cold snap. As a reminder to the kids (and ourselves!) not to turn it off early in the morning or late at night forgetting things, we placed an indoor sink in the is also labeled.
Leaving the faucet on for too long may feel like a big “waste” of water, but the impact of dripping on your water bill is negligible. I’ve read some articles about 2-5 cents per day per sink. And think of it like this: It uses far less water than a large leak that floods your home or garden.
Tip 4: Turn off the water completely
Another strategy is to completely turn off the water to your home or part of your home. For example, if there had been a separate shutoff for the outdoor shower, I would have done that instead. No one was going to take a shower outside in that weather! It’s also a great option if you’re out of town and don’t want to come home to drain the faucet or monitor for leaks. Bursting pipes can happen in any weather, so whenever we go on a trip, we actually turn off the main water (I have a friend who came home to a flooded ground floor in the summer! Terrible!).
Remember that even after you turn off the water, you still need to release any remaining water pressure in the pipe. Find the bottom plumbing fitting (usually an outdoor hose bib) and open it for a few seconds until the flow slows down. This was a tip from a Cape Charles plumber friend. I was told that some people would turn off the water but forget to release the pressure and come back to the frozen pipes that had burst.
Tip 5: Pools look fragile, but can usually be handled
Like many Florida citizens, we have a year-round pool.Nothing uncovered, unprotected, or typical of cold weather (year-round pools are the norm here). the pool is completed I was quite worried at first. We saw a lot of exposed and silent plumbing around the pool equipment. Goku goku.
However, after speaking with our pool cleaner (who is from Kansas and knows the cold weather), I was convinced that our system was fine. Our Hayward controllers incorporate a ‘freeze protect’ mode that automatically activates when the temperature drops below 36 degrees. This keeps your pumps, fountains, spa jets, and pool heaters running continuously and keeps the water from staying too long or getting too cold. Additionally, he assured me that if the controller fails, it will take a long time for the large PVC pipe to completely freeze and crack. Even older pools without “freeze protection” can usually be set to manually circulate the water and use a pump to keep things from freezing, so it’s good to know.
I would never advise not to worry about a pool at all, but seeing it stay safe during the colder months is a lot of comfort. For 4 days I moved and moved the water. We still checked it to make sure the fountain was running and the spa was bubbling regularly and it was completely self-sufficient and did a great job. Check it out or talk to the pool company to see what you can expect from your particular pool. Hopefully all goes well. Oh, and it really helps ensure your chances of staying in power. Many have backup generators here for that peace of mind.
Tip #6: Nothing is foolproof…
In general, these tips may not be enough to stop all potential pipe freezing problems, depending on your particular situation and weather event, but you should know that you have taken these precautions. I am very happy. The latest Arctic explosion and, at least for us, didn’t cause any plumbing issues at all.
Preparing for even colder climates
In addition to preparing our pipes for this unusually cold Florida weather, we have taken several precautions. protect plants from freezingYou can read the 6 steps we took, including which steps worked better than others here in this post.
Again, if you happen to have a fever, I wrote a post about everything How to prevent pipes from freezing when the heat drops.
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