School is starting again soon and that means frigid winter temperatures are just around the corner. That means any exposed plumbing lines are soon going to face the risk of freezing, which can have disastrous consequences for your home. The good news is plumbing insulation is extremely inexpensive and can provide your pipes with the shielding they need against the coldness of winter. However, how do you know you’ve properly insulated and shielded all potentially at-risk plumbing? There are a few simple places you can look where you’ll almost always find an abundance of exposed plumbing that needs shielded for best protection.
In Your Garage
Most homes have their connection to the main water supply through a meter located out by the street, but this plumbing is underground and protected. The plumbing need to worry about is where your pipes first enter your home. If your home has been copper re-piped, odds are you probably have an exposed copper line in your garage that leads directly to your water meter. Even though this copper line is inside, garages are rarely properly insulated and have little climate control which means they’re subject to some pretty nasty temperatures, particularly on cold winter nights. The first thing you should do is insulate this line to keep your main water line protected—a freeze here could turn into a disaster!
Outdoor Water Taps
If you have a garden hose connection outside, there’s a good chance it’s connected to a copper or other non-corrosive metal pipe. This pipe needs to be insulated or else it could freeze, along with the water inside it. It may take quite a bit of plumbing material, depending on whether or not you have any extra features added (such as a regulator valve) but make sure you thoroughly cover all exposed metal on these lines.
Because sprinkler lines are designed to be outdoors, they’re often not copper. In fact, more often than not they’re a white plastic pipe known as “PVC.” PVC is great because it’s extremely resistant to the elements, and it doesn’t transfer heat all that well. However, when temperatures drop plastics do become brittle, and that does mean they’re at risk when used outdoors. Check the plumbing around your sprinkler valves to make sure it’s insulated, and cover any exposed pipe with insulation. Likewise, it’s a good idea to turn off your sprinklers during the winter months to make sure you don’t cover your lawn and garden with a thick layer of frost.
Attic or Basement
For similar reasons to your garage, your attic and crawlspace are particularly dangerous places to have exposed plumbing lines, and yet finding exposed lines is fairly common in many homes. Go through these spaces carefully and find all exposed metal plumbing and then cover it insulation, especially if these areas are unfinished and have exposed or missing insulation to protect against air leaks.
If you’re experiencing a problem with frozen pipes or have a burst pipe causing severe flooding in your home, call the experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Charlotte today at (855) 982-2028 and request emergency services!
About the Author: William Iliev, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Charlotte
William has been a trusted Charlotte plumber and owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Charlotte since 2003. With over 15 years to back him, William has experience with a wide range of plumbing related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in water heater services, tree root plumbing repairs, and more.