For Minnesota and Wisconsin, freezing temperatures have already set in, and with that drop comes substantial threats to your property without the appropriate precautions. When water freezes, it expands by about 9%. And if it freezes inside of your outside water faucet or related piping, this expansion can exert over 100,000 psi of force, which is more than enough to rupture your faucet or pipe, causing a flood inside your home or cabin/cottage.
Most often a frozen pipe that bursts could have been avoided. Lack of insulation on exposed pipes susceptible to the steep temperature drops is one cause and failing to winterize outside water spigots/faucets/valves is another. If you have a home with a crawl space, a cold basement, a three-season porch or home addition with water running to it, or a three-season cabin/cottage, you have a high probability of experiencing frozen/burst pipes in the absence of taking preventative measures.
Below are some tips to help prevent frozen pipe water damage. However, the EXTREME COLD can still cause frozen pipes.
#1 Drain Outside Water Spigot/Faucet/Valve
STEP 1: Close the Inside Valve
Find the valve inside your home that is the closest valve to the wall of the pipe that goes through to your outside water faucet. Turn it off.
STEP 2: Drain the Inside the Valve (also called a “Bleeder Cap”)
Unscrew drain plug from the inside valve. Place a small bucket under this inside valve, and unscrew the small drain plug on the side of this valve. This will allow the water in the valve to drain out. Leave this open until finishing with STEP 7. ***If you don’t have a bleeder cap, skip STEP 2***
STEP 3: Disconnect the Garden Hose
STEP 4: Unscrew the Back Flow Preventer (if you have one)
STEP 5: Open/Turn-on the Outside Spigot/Faucet/Valve and allow any trapped water out. Then close/turn/shut it off.
STEP 6: Screw back on the Back Flow Preventer and close/turn/shut off the exterior valve.
STEP 7: Go back inside your home to the inside valve, and tighten/put back on the Bleeder Cap. ***Again if you don’t have a Bleeder Cap, skip this***
Insulated Spigot/Faucet/ Valve Covers. Cover the outside water spigot.
If you don’t have one, you can purchase one easily. Most sell for less than $10. Placing a spigot/faucet/valve cover on is very intuitive.
Insulated faucet covers are mitts that can be placed over your outside faucets for the winter (see costs and reviews of insulated faucet covers). Although they do help keep in some of the heat that is conducted from inside your home, we do not recommend insulated covers as a substitute for draining your outside faucets. Especially if you are in Minnesota and Wisconsin where the weather can be below freezing for several weeks, and your faucets are in the shade and exposed to strong cold winds.
#2 Insulate Exposed Pipe(s)
To insulate your pipes, you first need to determine the size of your pipes and then purchase insulation to meet the same size. This insulation is pre-cut along one side and slips over the pipe. You will have to cut the length and piece it along the exposed pipe and in-between joints and elbows. Start from the wall or side of your home where pipe(s) come into it and work your way inward. You can use a carpet knife to cut the length of the pipe insulation.
Final thought…the garden hose
And finally, we recommend that you be sure to disconnect your garden hose from your outside water faucet. There are a couple of reasons for this: if there is water in the house, and this freezes, then the expansion of the frozen water can push back into your valve and damage it; and we suggest that you drain your hose and bring it into your garage or basement for the winter, rather than leave it outside where the water in it can freeze and damage it. If you are going to leave it outside in a shed, then we suggest that you completely drain or use a compressor to remove all of the water from it.
If you experience frozen pipe water damage, contact St. Cloud Water Damage Specialist 24/7 for immediate water extraction at (320) 249-0204.
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