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Maintaining Your Home’s Pipeline

Every home has water pipes snaking throughout the structure, servicing our kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.  In most cases, they will function without incident for many years, however, there are occasions, particularly during the winter, where pipes may malfunction, clog up, freeze up, or even break.  Any one of these scenarios can set the stage for considerable water damage in your home or business.

If the problem occurs where a pipe is easily accessible, you may be able to keep the water damage to a minimum, but as so often happens, most breaks crop up in places that are quite difficult to get to.  Within the walls, ceilings, or worse, under your flooring, any one of which can make water damage restoration very difficult.  Fortunately, proper pipe maintenance is relatively easy and if done correctly, may extend the life and quality of your home’s piping for years to come.

Frozen water in your pipes is a problem due to water’s tendency to expand as it freezes.  With enough water, the pipe may very easily be cracked.  The pipes most susceptible to this problem are those that are either outdoors or located in close proximity to the outdoors, where they can be affected by freezing temperatures.  Pipes may also freeze up in uninsulated or improperly insulated attics.

To avoid frozen pipes, be sure to drain water from swimming pools and outdoor sprinkler systems.  Look around your property for any water lines that may be exposed to freezing temps, such as your basement or garage, and then insulate those pipes for added protection.

If there are water lines in your garage, insulate them and keep the garage door closed as much as possible.

Kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors should be opened to allow warmer air to circulate in and around the plumbing.  If the weather is extremely cold, set your faucets for a slight drip during the night.  Keeping a small flow of water moving through the pipes will increase the resistance to freezing, since the moving water is warmer than the outside temperature.

Maintain your thermostat level both day and night.  This may momentarily increase your heating bill, but it will help prevent a much more expensive water damage repair bill following a broken or burst pipe.

Most of us turn the temp down if we are going to be away from home for an extended period, but the temp should be set no lower than 55 degrees to avoid problems.

If you do find a frozen pipe, locate the area where the freeze actually is and apply insulation and heat to the area until water begins to flow smoothly again.  If the area is inaccessible, call a licensed plumber.   Also be sure to check the rest of the plumbing in your home, as frozen pipe problems do not tend to confine themselves to one area.

By properly maintaining your home’s piping system, you can protect yourself from the threat of water damage.

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