Winter is in full swing in Portland, but it’s not too late to protect your plumbing from winter’s chill. You’ll want to pay especially close attention your home’s insulation to prevent frozen pipes when the mercury drops. To keep from experiencing flooding in your home, learn how to wrap your pipes the right way.
Seal and Protect
The first thing you’ll want to do is clean your pipes of any dirt and grime that might have collected on them. Once that’s done, seal up all air-leaking holes and cracks in your pipes. This can be done with either a silicone caulk or expanding foam sealant. Next, you’ll want to wrap all of your exposed pipes in foam-rubber pipe insulation.
Not only is insulation good for protecting pipes against freezing, it also helps keep heat from being leeched from your pipes, which can cause your energy bills to be higher than necessary. Specific pipes you’ll want to wrap in insulation include those under the sink, in crawlspaces, in the basement and in the attic. If you have pipes that have frozen in the past, you could be better off using heating tape, but know that it can be a bit expensive.
Lengths and Corners
Wrap the insulation over the length of the pipes, making sure you peel off the backing strips and press the adhesive material together. When you reach the corners of the pipes, you’ll need to miter-cut the ends of the insulation before using foam tape to attach the insulation to the corners.
What to Do When You Already Have Frozen Pipes
For those times when pipes freeze unexpectedly, open up the faucet before you attempt to take care of the problem. If you can, find the ice and use either a blow dryer or heat gun to melt it. While it might be tempting to speed the job up with an open flame or propane torch, doing so could do more harm than good.
If you aren’t able to reach the area of the pipes that’s frozen, you can use an electric pipe-thawing machine. To use the machine, locate the exposed ends, position a clamp onto each pipe and let the machine take care of the blockage.
If none of the above methods seem to keep water flowing through your pipes this winter, contact the Portland pipe professionals of Meticulous Plumbing at 503-208-2812.