2014-03-27 / Community

FLASH offers tips to prevent frozen pipes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Frozen pipes are the second most common cause of home insurance claims in the U.S. according to III. Water inside pipes that are either inadequately insulated or exposed to outside temperatures can freeze and exert pressure of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch causing pipes to rupture and a costly mess.

With yet another blast of freezing temperatures and snow affecting the area, residents should take time to make sure their pipes as well as doors and windows are properly insulated. This will protect your home and family from the cold this week, and in some cases, for the warmer weather in the coming months.

Insulate Your Windows and

Doors

Check and refresh caulk around your windows.

Check for air leaks around windows and doors using a lit incense stick. If the smoke is sucked out of an opening, seal the leak with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping.

The easiest place to insulate that will generate the biggest results is your attic. The US Environmental Protection Agency suggests at least 12 – 15 inches of insulation on the floor of your attic (more if you are in a colder climate).

If you don’t have energy efficient windows, consider using shrink film window insulation kit from a local hardware store.

Prevent Pipes from Freezing

Foam: Insulate pipes exposed to the elements or cold drafts. For as little as $1 per 6’ of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing and save energy.

Dome: Placing an insulating dome or other coverings on outdoor faucets and spigots also reduce the likelihood of the water in your homes pipes freezing, expanding and causing a costly leak.

Drip: Drip your faucets to you reduce the build-up of pressure in the pipes. Even if the pipes freeze, you have released the pressure from the water system reducing the likelihood of a rupture. If you are going out of town, and you suspect the temperatures will drop, turn off the water to your home and open all of the taps to drain the water system. This way you won’t return to a frozen, soggy mess.

Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams are formed when air in the attic is warm enough to cause snow and ice on the roof to thaw and refreeze repeatedly. Pools of water then become trapped under layers of ice that seep under your roof covering (tiles or shingles) into the attic.

Seal all openings that would allow vapor to rise into the attic; this includes any holes created from installing light fixtures or ceiling fans.

Keep gutters and downspouts clear to allow melted snow and ice to flow away from your home.

Don’t use salt or other minerals to melt the snow on your roof, since these are very damaging.

For more information, tips and resources for winter safety visit www.protect-your-home.org or www.greatwinterweatherparty.org.

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