How To Avoid Frozen Pipes

One of the messiest and most costly homeowner repairs is fixing a burst frozen pipe. Water from a burst pipe can cause damage to carpeting, short out electrical appliances and ruin furniture. Luckily, there are several products on the market that offer some security against these nightmares:

Spray Foam- Foam is sprayed into the wall to fill cavities around pipes when the temperature cools.

  • Foam insulates walls and blocks airflow
  • Make sure you also caulk exterior joints on the outside wall near pipes

Heat Tape- The tape plugs into a grounded outlet and is then spiral wrapped around pipes.

  • Tapes have built-in thermostats that automatically call for power when the temperature drops near freezing
  • When the temperature rises, the power cuts off

In-pipe Heating Elements- Devices are placed in water and sewer pipes and conduct heat directly into the pipe as needed.

Valve Units- Products are screwed onto faucets (usually outside) and prohibit water from going through when temperatures are too low.

  • The valve sensor detects low and high temperatures
  • When the low temperature is detected, the sensor opens a micro-valve to produce heat
  • As the temperature rises, the valve closes

Water expands as it freezes and puts significant pressure on the metal or plastic pipes that hold it. Pipes that are exposed to extreme cold can burst when water expands; these can include outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in basements, attics and garages.

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