Delaware may have a temperate climate but when cold winds from the north and moist air from the Delaware Bay head our way to create frigid winter temperatures and put a chill on our vulnerable water pipes, we’re often left with frozen pipes, water leaks, and severe damage as a result. Understanding which pipes freeze more easily and what proactive measures to take to prevent frozen pipes will safeguard your home from costly damage and disruptions and allow you to enjoy the season.
Identifying Vulnerable Pipes
When winter temperatures dip to 20°F or below for several hours or more, no pipe is safe from freezing. But identifying your most vulnerable water pipes is essential to winter preparedness and preventing a burst pipe. Within your home, exposed water pipes, especially those in inadequately insulated or unheated areas like your attic, and pipes near exterior walls or in basements are the most susceptible to freezing and require prompt protective measures. (We’ll cover outdoor pipes soon.)
Protecting Your Pipes
Ensure your pipes are adequately protected for the upcoming winter months. Cover exposed pipes with insulation sleeves to prevent heat loss. Consider using heat tape or heat cables for added protection along vulnerable sections to maintain consistent temperatures and ward off freezing risks effectively. (Be sure to follow all safety guidelines closely when installing.) Combining proper home insulation with these pipe protection tips is the most effective way to keep your home and your pipes warm and safe throughout the winter.
Sealing Drafts and Air Leaks
Identify and seal air leaks around your pipes to enhance winter resilience. Apply spray foam, caulk and weatherstripping to seal gaps and crevices near pipe entry points, minimizing drafts and maintaining stable temperatures. This proactive approach can help prevent pipes from freezing and protect them from potential damage.
Keeping Your Home Warm
Ensuring a warm home during the cold weather months involves maintaining adequate indoor temperatures. Implement tips like using door drafts and space heaters to maintain warm air in cold rooms. Prevent heat loss by insulating your attic and crawl space, reinforcing your home’s overall warmth and comfort during chilly weather conditions.
Dripping Faucets and Running Water
The age-old advice of letting your faucets drip during freezing conditions is a sound one. Allowing a slight flow of water will help prevent pipes from freezing by minimizing pressure buildup. Practice safe water usage during freezing temperatures, ensuring both pipe protection and responsible resource management.
Outdoor Faucets and Water Supply Lines
Winterizing your outdoor faucets and hose bibs is vital in colder months. Be sure to drain and disconnect hoses, then cover faucets with faucet covers to prevent freezing. Similarly, insulate all outdoor pipes and water lines with pipe insulation, such as foam pipe sleeves, to safeguard them when temperatures drop significantly, reducing the risk of damage and costly repairs.
Winter Considerations for Delaware Residents
Thanks to our proximity to the ocean, we often enjoy mild winters but are susceptible to cold snaps each year. This increases the importance of proper preparation. Proper insulation, faucet dripping, and proactive measures such as keeping cabinet doors open to circulate air around your plumbing are crucial to safeguarding your home against potential pipe-related issues during the winter months. Our local and state government provide helpful winter preparedness and winterization tips and tricks for residents to utilize.
Dealing with Vacant or Unoccupied Properties
Whether you’re heading South for the winter or only leaving for a short trip, be sure to follow these tips before leaving:
- Turn off your water supply to avoid a burst or leaky pipe.
- Keep your heat on at around 60°F to maintain minimal heat circulation.
- Drain your waterlines.
- Insulate your pipes.
Following the steps to winterize your vacant home will give you peace of mind while you’re gone.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
Frost buildup, no or minimal water flow, gurgling sounds, and/or odd odors are all signs of a potentially frozen pipe that may need thawing. But don’t panic! When faced with thawing frozen pipes, turn on the faucet and safely apply heat to thaw them using warm towels, a hairdryer, or heating pads. Avoid open flames to prevent fire hazards and costly repairs.
Let Us Help You Be Prepared This Winter
Taking the time to prepare your pipes and home for the winter months is crucial to enjoying a hassle-free winter with your family. Ensure you know which pipes and places leave your home most vulnerable to sub-freezing temperatures and safeguard them with proper insulation. Spray foam insulation is an ideal choice for protecting your home and pipes. At Delmarva Insulation we understand we are in it together through the winter season and whether this is your first or 31st Delaware winter, we’re here to help. Contact us today to speak with a member of our insulation team about our insulation services for your home.