A channel of frozen water can cause big damage in your home. And as prevention is better than cure, let's take a look at all the precautions you need to take to prevent the gel from damaging your pipes.
Isolate your pipes
This is the first of the precautions to take. Even before the cold weather arrives, think about insulating your water pipes. You must isolate them from cold, drafts and keep them dry. From -5°, problems may occur. The gel can break or crack the pipes and cause leaks and flooding during thawing. Your heater and boiler may also be damaged in case of prolonged frost.
Isolate the main water inlet, that is to say the one coming from the meter. The pipes before the water meter are the responsibility of your water supplier but all those after the meter belong to you. As for the meter itself, if it remains the property of your water supplier, it is under your responsibility. You must therefore protect it from any damage including freezing.
Do not forget to also isolate the pipes located in the crawl space as well as in all areas with little or no insulation or drafts (cellar, garage, unheated room, etc.).
Also remember to turn off the water supply to your outdoor water faucets and purge the installation.
How to insulate your pipes?
There are different ways to insulate your pipes from cold and frost:
- Rock wool or glass: Wrap the insulation around the pipes to be protected. You can also build an insulating formwork to perfect the insulation and especially to protect the glass or rock wool from moisture. If the place is wet, use insulation sleeves instead.
- Insulation sleeves: Made of rubber or polyethylene, you install the sleeves around the pipes. They exist in different diameter and in different lengths.
- Antifreeze heating cable: It is a thermoplastic electrical cable that you install on your pipe. A thermostat triggers heating when the temperature is below 5° and stops it when it rises. It exists in several lengths from 1 m to 40 m. It is suitable for both metal and plastic pipes.
Some cable or heating tape operates in 12 V.
Precautions to take in an unoccupied winter home
If you miss several weeks of your home or in your second home, be particularly careful in case of extreme cold. The ideal is to program the heating in frost protection mode and to isolate the pipes.
Otherwise, turn off the water and drain the system. After closing the general water supply, open all faucets and let the water run until it is empty.
If you notice that the general shut-off valve is defective and the water can not be completely shut off, hold a tap a little open to let a trickle of water flow. This expenditure of water will be much less expensive than the damage caused by the freezing of the pipes. As soon as you can, change the water tap.
Good to know: How to control the good condition of your water meter? Raise your meter one night and during the night be careful not to open a tap or flush a toilet. In the morning check the counter index. If the index has not moved, everything is fine. If it's different from the day before you have leaks...
On the same theme: how to find a leak on a pipe?