Homeowners can prevent crawl space pipes from freezing in just a few DIY steps. Doing so can save you headaches and a pain in the wallet down the road. Follow our five easy steps below to protect your home’s pipes this winter.
The onset of winter requires several modifications in your home. Homeowners adopt various weatherization techniques to avert any potential disaster. However, crawl spaces are often neglected during these efforts. Crawl spaces are more exposed to outside winds due to their vents. Thus, a little brush with cold winds is enough to freeze crawl space pipes.
Why Pipes Freeze?
Water is a fascinating compound. It displays distinct characteristics when it faces heat and cold. When water faces a very low temperature, it can freeze and expand by almost 10 percent. This expansion is triggered with a sudden and powerful surge. Studies illustrate the fact that such water pressures can even stretch to 40,000 psi (pounds per inch).
Pipes are not supposed to withstand such high amounts of pressure; thus, they are vulnerable to bursts. Generally, the exact spot of the burst differs. Sometimes, it is the spot where most of the ice can be found; at other times, the pipe’s weakest portions become susceptible to the sudden rise of water pressure.
Frozen water pipes cannot only hamper the flow of water in your home, but they can also burst at any time, costing structural damages as well as maintenance expenses.
Hence, it is important to follow certain techniques and tips which can help to limit crawl space pipes from freezing in winters.
5 DIY Techniques and Tips to Prevent Crawl Space Pipes From Freezing
Five very easy, but effective, tips to prevent crawl space pipes from freezing are as follows:
- When the cold weather arrives, a productive tip is to shut your crawl space’s vents until the weather subsides. Make sure, however, that you only use this technique for only the coldest days. Keeping vents closed for long periods, especially in Northwest homes, can lead to moisture buildup that can cause mold and mildew in your crawl space.
- Open cabinet doors under the sink if you have pipes inside or close to an exterior wall. You may even want to place small space heater in front of the cabinet doors to keep pipes warm.
- Another extremely cold weather time tip is to keep your faucets on, .i.e., allow a little water to trickle down in your crawl space pipes. A continuous supply of water can hamper any freezing attempt. This, too, is only recommended for the coldest days of winter.
- Move around your crawl space and apply heating tape on pipes. There are heating tapes that have to be added and removed according to the temperatures. However, you can also opt for heating tapes that automatically turn on and off by determining the temperatures.
- Observe the surroundings that are close to your pipes. Identify any cracks or holes and eliminate them. Often cold air finds a passageway through these pipes, resulting in the freezing of pipes.
Professional Solutions to Protect Your Pipes This Winter
Crawl space insulation is perhaps the most effective solution to prevent crawl space pipes from freezing.
The insulation of a crawl space means that your crawl space can have similar temperature that is maintained within the confines of your home. As a result, pipes can be prevented from freezing. Likewise, the possibilities of condensation are also reduced.
A professional insulation contractor can install the proper amount of insulation between floor joists to ensure a warm and comfortable floor. In most cases a six-inch-thick, R-19 fiberglass batt works best in our Northwest homes.
An insulation pro will also calculate the ventilation your crawl space needs to perform at its best. Sometimes new vents will be required for the proper ventilation.
It may also be necessary to seal the subfloor when holes for electrical wires and plumbing have are open or have cracks. In this case spray foam insulation will be used to fill the cracks.
A professional can also insulate your plumbing and HVAC ducts to prevent heat loss and freezing.
Preventing your pipes from freezing this winter can be a simple DIY project or it may take some professional support.
The main point is to take action today. A few simple steps can help head off major issues this winter.