Category Archives: Frozen Water Pipes

Winterizing outdoor plumbing

Plan ahead to winterize your outdoor plumbing. This includes outdoor faucets and pipes.  Pipes usually do not burst when they freeze.  They usually burst downstream where the water pressure is stronger.   A burst pipe in the exterior wall of a home can cause thousands of dollars of water damage to the walls,floors, ceilings and furniture.

We recommend you inspect all outside wall faucets and make sure to disconnect the hose.  Drain the garden hose.  Use spray foam insulation to seal around any gaps to prevent cold air from coming into the wall and possibly freezing the pipes.   Purchase pipe insulation for outdoor sprinkler system pipes.

You must shut down the water to the outside sprinkler system and open up any drain valves and drain all the water out of the pipes.  Once you remove the water from the lines open the drain valve and open the test cocks on the backflow device.  If your system requires a blow out method for winterization ,then contact a sprinkler company to perfom this service.

 

Advertisements

Freezing Pipes

Really cold weather may be behind us. If temps drop below 20 degrees at night and the power goes out you could have frozen pipes.

All houses are different. If you keep your heat on pipes will probably not freeze.  If pipes are on an outside wall chances of them freezing is pretty good.  The best thing to do is to make sure pipes are insulated or they have heat tape attached to them.  The other option is to let faucets drip to keep water flowing.  Hot water will freeze before cold water.

If pipes do freeze.  Call a plumber to have them thaw them out properly.  Pipes may burst under pressure.  Open up faucets to relieve the pressure.

When the weather warms up contact your local plumber and have them inspect the piping of the home and see where the problem pipes are.

Ace hi Plumbing,Heating and Air offers free insulation with any repipe of a home.

 

Winterize Outdoor Faucets – ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR

Winter comes along and apparently tries to destroy our water lines every year. The best way to minimize the damage from cold weather on household plumbing is to do a little preventive winterizing. A good starting point is to winterize outside faucets and fixtures. These few steps will take a small amount of time but they could save you a lot of money and inconvenience.

Disconnect

 It is very important to remove hoses, splitters or connections from the spigot during the winter, no matter what kind of hose bibs you have, freeze proof or not. Not removing hoses or any other connections from the hose bib can trap water and can therefore cause the fixture to freeze. This is always a difficult step to take because most people will want to use the outside water until the very point when freezing weather begins. It’s best to preempt the cold weather by disconnecting hoses early since even one night of freezing weather can cause a break in the pipes.

Inspect

 Leak detection and repair is the next step to winterize outside faucets. Check all hose bibs, yard hydrants and other fixtures for leaks and drips. Repair or replace the fixture if you do find any leaks or drips before the temperature drops to freezing. Water dripping, no matter how slowly, can block up and freeze in the pipe or fixture. Although a frozen outdoor faucet may not be apparent until the next season it may be possible to minimize the damage by repairing the leak before the winter.

Drain

Get as much water out of the pipes to winterize outdoor faucets. If you have a hose bib that is not freeze proof the best way to do this is to shut off that line if possible and drain it down. If you cannot isolate the water supply to hose bib to shut it off be sure to use extra insulation in the next step.

For a frost free hose bib or a yard hydrant, this step isn’t necessary since the fixture design keeps water well back away from the end of the spigot. Just as with regular hose bibs, however, hoses and other attachments should be removed from frost free hose bibs and yard hydrants before the winter or they may not drain down properly.

Protect

Protect outdoor faucets with insulation. An easy way to do this is to install a hose bib cover on each outdoor fixture including frost free hose bibs. Hose bib covers are square or dome shaped to fit right over outdoor faucets. They are made of thick foam so they are quite effective at keeping most of the cold away from the valve. When covering regular hose bibs that could not be drained extra insulation can be installed inside the hose bib cover to keep it warm and dry throughout the winter. In most situations, however, the hose bib cover will provide enough insulation.

 One of the most important things you can do to keep a freeze proof faucet from freezing during the cold season is to remove the hose. If a hose is attached to the faucet it can prevent residual water from draining. The trapped water can freeze and completely defeat the purpose of the freeze proof faucet. Frost free hose bibs should be covered as well because although they are resistant to freezing they are not completely frost proof in the coldest weather. There are rubber gaskets and washers inside the frost free hose bibs that will benefit from the extra protection from the cold that a hose bib cover can provide.

No matter which faucet cover style you use they will help protect most faucets from some of the hardest freezes. Using covers as part of your plumbing winterizing routine can save you time and money in the spring when most outdoor freeze damage becomes obvious.

Avoid Frozen Pipes! – The Importance of Heat Tape – ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR

Before the cold season, you should do a yearly pre-season inspection to ensure that your heat tapes are plugged into a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet and that the outlet has power to it. You can also have a switch installed inside the home to turn on the heat tapes as necessary if you don’t already. Insulating your pipes is necessary but it is not always enough when the temperatures stay cold for days at a time, therefore, installing quality heat tape can be a lifesaver when water lines are exposed to freezing temperatures. If you have ever experienced frozen or broken waterlines, you know what a good idea it is to be prepared.

Types of Heat Tape

There are a few different types of heat tape that can be used on water lines. Knowing what options are available will help you make the best decision when winterizing your home plumbing.

  • Self regulating heating cable: This type of heat tape can be cut to any length for a custom fit. Quite a few brands make this relatively new type of heat cable that automatically varies its heat output with changes in the surrounding temperatures. Often this type of heat tape can even be overlapped safely (check the manufacturer’s instructions) and there is no temperature control required. You can buy self regulating heat cable by the roll and sometimes even by the foot in some hardware or home improvement stores. A connection kit with an end plug and outlet are required for this type of heat tape.
  • Non regulating heating cable: This type of heat tape is regulated by a thermostat. It can be purchased by the foot or in a roll as well. The heating cable can be custom fit to your application because it can be cut to any size that is needed and the ends are then added to the length of cable. This type of heat tape will require a connection kit with an end plug and outlet as well as a thermostat to regulate the temperature.
  • Heated water hoses: These are great for anyone who needs to use water hoses in the winter. Heated water hoses come in many lengths and they are made by many manufactures. Having a heated water hose means you can have reliable running water in freezing temperatures. Heated hoses have wires that are embedded into the hose wall. When they are plugged in the wires heat the hose all the way through to the end. These hoses will shut off automatically in warm weather to save on electricity and prevent overheating.
  • Automatic electric heat cable kits: Heat tape kits are now smarter than ever and probably come in just about any length you might need in an already pre-terminated complete package with a power indicator light at the plug. Most of these units come with a built in thermostat that will turn on and off saving electricity because it only heats when the temperature is cold enough. Installing the new complete package heat tape is quick and easy.

Mobile Home Skirting

The main reason behind the importance of mobile home skirting is that it can save you money on things like utilities and it can protect your home from environmental elements like flooding, provide support for the mobile home itself, and add insulation and protection from rodents, animals and pests which often use this space as a shelter. The effects of climatic factors can also be held responsible for the cracks and ruptures in flooring and the elements placed below your mobile home. Skirting can efficiently help to reduce ruptures and cracks thereby protecting your home.

Various Types of Skirting

There are many different types of mobile home skirting that exist, leaving you with a vast array of options. Some important factors you should also consider include what exactly you want to do with it including aesthetics vs saving money on heating and cooling, or both. Also, what type of budget you’re working with.

  • Vinyl is one of the most popular choices because it’s easily the cheapest one for mobile home owners. it is easy to install, flexible, very washable and durable. Although, compared to other materials, vinyl is quite flimsy and if you have any case of extreme weather or various animals getting under your mobile home, investing your money into something more durable or stronger would be wise.
  • Galvanized metal and aluminum are both economic and also come in an array of styles and color, with natural metal seen as beneficial, since it can help insulate your home with light-reflecting capabilities.
  • Concrete and stone are the least popular considering it is very costly and extremely hard to work with due to its lack of flexibility, since mobile homes tend to shift a lot, leaving holes and cracks. In general, when dealing with heavy material, you’ll have to understand that they usually do require things like ventilation and sometimes professional installation.
  • Brick is probably the best option in terms of aesthetic and attractiveness. However, brick is expensive and requires masonry equipment and mortar, so you might want to hire a professional to do this for you. It is also very reliable in extreme conditions.

How to Prevent Frozen Water Pipes – ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR

How to Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

  • Make sure to keep pipes dry and insulated from cold moving air. Locate the main water shut off in case you’ll need it. Leaks often happen when pipes are thawed.
  • Use heat tapes wrapped around the pipes. Heat tapes work by a built-in thermostat. In order to work, heat tape must be wrapped between the pipe and the insulation. Be sure to follow manufacturer instruction since some tapes do not allow insulation over the heat tape. You can also use a heated reflector lamp in a dry, enclosed place. On cold nights, make sure to check the light to see that it is working.
  • Let water run from the faucets no faster than a slow constant drip, especially if electric power is unavailable or lost. Letting water drip is much cheaper than having to do repairs. First start a slow drip on the hot side faucet, then a faster drip on the cold side faucet. There is no need to run a lot of water. You can run cold water in the bathrooms, as long as they aren’t freezing.
  • Don’t forget to insulate and heat drain lines in crawl spaces and in cold basements. A heat lamp focused on the drain p-trap will keep it from freezing as long as it is protected from moving cold air such as with a boxed enclosure, which you can build yourself.
  • When thawing frozen pipes, be sure to check the pipe in the areas that are frozen. It is possible for copper and plastic pipes to split and flood the surrounding area when thawed. If there is a broke pipe or split, it is recommended to call a plumber. All metal pipes can be thawed by connecting a welder onto the pipe on each side of the frozen part and after a while, it will be running again.
  • Heating the area with a space heater, a hand-held dryer, or a heat lamp in  a reflector is the safest way to prevent a fire. Be cautious when placing heat generating devices and never leave these devices unattended for any amount of time while in use. Call a plumber if this is a problem. Heat lamps, space heaters and reflective lamps can generate high temperatures causing combustion of certain materials.

Do not use any kind of open flames, it may burst your pipes.

  • Always be sure to disconnect your water hose from your outdoor spigot before temperatures begin to drop below freezing. The water left inside the hose can freeze and continue to freeze into the spigot until it reaches your pipes. If there is PVC piping leading to the spigot, this will cause it to burst.
  • Install a temperature-controlled thermal convection powered hot water recirculation valve. This does not require electricity to operate, however, circulating water throughout your system continuously will increase your water heating bill. Unlike heat tape, this process circulates water non-stop to prevent crystallization and freezing no matter where the pipes are hidden.
  • Use ICE LOC. This is a product that prevents pipes from rupturing by taking up the expansion of the frozen water. It’s an elastomer that fits inside trouble areas of the pipe.
  • Use a RedyTemp. This is a device which utilizes an internal water contacting temperature probe to monitor the temperature of the water inside the pipes. Depending on the temperature set point you choose on the unit’s temperature dial, it will intermittently circulate water throughout both hot and cold water lines “as needed” to maintain the selected temperature. Intermittent circulation typically results in 5 minutes of actual circulation per hour causing far less water heater  demand compared to continuous demand from thermostatic valves
    • The RedyTemp optimizer installation is a DIY project that can be easily installed under a sink in about 20 minutes. Users are able to gauge the effectiveness of their chosen set point by opening cold water faucets upstream and feeling  the temperature of the water that is coming out of the tap, and adjust the set point accordingly until optimized.
    • During off seasons when circulation is not desired, users simply lower the temperature set point to prevent circulation.

Consider hiring a licensed plumber if you have any reservations about following these steps.

CALL ACE HI PLUMBING TODAY!

970-667-0300