How Can I Winterize My Pipes?

The ideal time to winterize your pipes is before the coldest part of winter hits. While that’s not always feasible, you can still take steps now to protect them. Read on for some tips. Caulking is a great way to add insulation around your pipes. You can also install heat cables around them. And, if the pipes are in your basement, make sure you have a drain cover to prevent water from dripping down the pipe.

Insulation

In a perfect world, you should know how to winterize pipes before the deepest cold of the winter. Unfortunately, that is not always practical, so you can take steps to protect your pipes now. Here are some tips. First, make sure that your pipes are properly protected by running the water on all faucets, especially those on the outside walls of your home. Do not close any faucets, and remember to leave a few faucets on all of them, even if you do not use them.

Another great tip is to cover exposed pipes with heat tape. This UL-approved tape contains a built-in thermostat to prevent overheating. Heat tape has instructions that tell you when the pipe is cold enough to activate. Once the tape activates, it warms the water inside the pipes, which will prevent them from freezing. Keep in mind, heat tape can cost a few hundred dollars. This method should not be the only way to winterize pipes, however.

Heat cables

There are different types of heat cables available. One type of cable is called FLX cable, which is based on fiberglass insulation. Other forms of insulation include closed-cell flexible foam. The cable is installed to the pipes in multiple passes, with the main line being protected from freezing. A heat cable can be used for either above or below-grade pipes, depending on their size. The cables must be connected with an electrical receptacle adapter and a thermostat.

When installing heat cables, make sure to choose ones that have an automatic adjustment of the cable’s output based on ambient temperature and surface temperature. The length should be approximately one-half the pipe diameter, but should be no less than 10 feet. If the pipe is odd-shaped, make two separate cables and leave 3 feet of overrun along the pipe. Make sure to double-up the cable if it is metal pipe. Plastic pipe should be wrapped with aluminum foil before the cable is installed.

Caulking

One of the easiest ways to winterize pipes is to caulk them. You should caulk around doors, windows, vents, and pipes. For outdoor faucets, you can place foam pipe insulation around them. You can also caulk a long joint between the exterior wall and the foundation sill. Adding insulation to outdoor faucets will help prevent them from freezing and bursting. Keeping these tips in mind will help you avoid a costly plumbing emergency.

While caulking is an easy way to protect pipes from winter temperatures, it’s also important to use the right caulk. It should be mold-resistant and able to withstand changes in temperature. Most caulks made for this purpose are silicone blends. These can be used around sinks, tubs, showers, and bath fixtures. If you’re using a non-latex caulk, you can dampen your finger first to avoid building up too much caulk. When finished, remove the painter’s tape and clean away any excess caulk with a paper towel.

Insulation around pipes

If you have a plumbing fixture, insulation around pipes is important for protecting them during the winter. Unprotected pipes can freeze and burst. In order to protect your pipes, you should keep your home at a constant temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Using heat tape around pipes may also help prevent them from freezing, but it can also pose a fire hazard. To protect your plumbing fixture, you can purchase foam faucet covers at most home improvement or hardware stores. These covers will not only protect your faucets from freezing but also deactivate them during the winter months.

Another alternative is to wrap exposed pipes with pipe wrap tape. Before installing insulation around pipes, make sure they are clean and dry. Once the insulation is properly placed around pipes, secure the insulation with duct tape to avoid tearing. Once the insulation is installed around pipes, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. This will prevent moisture and snow from getting inside the pipes. You should also install heat tape to protect pipes. To make sure that the insulation is protected from freezing, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.