How to Prevent Pipe Bursts and Slab Leaks When Temperatures Get Low

Water Main Leak in Sacramento

Colder temperatures frequently bring about plumbing problems for homeowners. Even here in California, where the weather is typically mild, cold snaps can occur that drop the temperatures well below freezing. When this happens, your pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting, leaving you with a mess to clean up and some major repair bills. How can you help prevent this from happening? Please keep reading to get tips from our plumbing contractor in Sacramento.

Insulate Your Pipes

If you have any exposed pipes around your home, ensure they’re properly insulated. Of course, you can do very little to insulate the pipes inside your walls. Still, the good news is that those are far less likely to freeze since they’re sealed between layers of drywall and construction insulation and receive some of the benefits of your home’s heated air. Exposed pipes—especially those on the exterior of your home—don’t have those benefits.

Take a walk around the perimeter of your home to look for any exposed pipes that might benefit from a layer of insulation, and consider insulating the exposed pipes under your sinks as well. A simple layer of insulating foam will typically do the trick, but other options include special heated tape and other insulation methods.

Open Your Cabinets

Speaking of those pipes under your sink, you can further protect them by keeping those cabinets open any time below-freezing temperatures are expected. While you might think your home’s heating protects them, the closed cabinet doors can seal them off from that heated air much more than you might realize. This is especially true for sinks up against an exterior wall; the pipes running through the wall will make all the pipes under the sink more vulnerable to freezing. Opening up those cabinets helps to circulate warmer air around the pipes so that they don’t freeze during a cold snap. It’s a small task to open up your cabinet doors, but it can make a big difference in protecting your pipes.

Don’t Drop Your Thermostat Too Much

While you might be tempted to turn down your thermostat a few degrees during a cold snap to help save on utility bills, it’s not recommended. Dropping the temperature in your home, even if it’s just at night, makes your pipes more susceptible to freezing. It’s better to keep your home at a consistent temperature day and night until the cold snap is over. It might cost you a little bit more on your utility bills, but it’ll save you a lot of money on expensive repairs. Also, be sure to read your insurance policy. Often, policies state that if you haven’t maintained a temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit in your home, you may not be covered in the case of a frozen, burst pipe.

Insulate More of Your Home

The parts of your home that you live in are insulated relatively well. However, most homes have spaces like basements, crawlspaces, attics, and garages that don’t have nearly the same level of insulation. Pipes in these areas are much more likely to freeze in a cold snap. Adding insulation in these spaces will help protect the pipes while also improving your home’s overall energy efficiency throughout the year, which is a bonus.

Water line Slab Leak

Repair Any Existing Leaks

If you have any existing leaks in your plumbing, you should have those leaks repaired before another cold snap hits. While a pinprick leak may not seem like a big deal, that steady drip of water makes the damaged pipe much more susceptible to freezing. All it takes is one hard freeze, and that little leak can cause the pipe to freeze and ultimately burst, flooding your home and causing severe water damage.

Not all plumbing leaks are easy to detect. They might be hidden inside walls, in rarely-used parts of your home like crawlspaces, or otherwise hidden from view. It’s essential to pay attention to your home and recognize the signs of a hidden leak, which include high levels of humidity in a particular area of the home, a musty smell mainly confined to one room, and unexplained increases in your water bill. You might already have a hidden leak if you notice any of these signs. Getting it repaired now can help you prevent it from becoming a significant problem during the next hard freeze.

If you suspect you have a hidden leak or your water lines were damaged during the last cold snap, contact Bullseye Leak Detection today for assistance. We will send one of our leak detection experts to your home to pinpoint the leak and get it repaired as soon as possible so you can avoid even more significant plumbing problems down the road. Call now to schedule a consultation with a plumbing contractor in Sacramento and get a quote on your plumbing repair needs.