by April Reinhardt
(last updated December 5, 2014)
When I was a newlywed, we lived in Appalachia where the housing is either antiquated or prefabricated. Our first home was the former, since we could not afford the latter. Although the house was fully plumbed, it did not have a pump to extract the water from the well. We eventually saved enough money to buy and install a pump, and my then-husband hooked the plumbing to the pump that hot summer, and we finally had water at our fingertips when we turned on the faucets inside the house. That winter, however, we learned the hard way that the PVC pipes under the house were not insulated, so the water inside froze, expanded, and burst the pipes. I spent many frigid hours underneath the house in the tiny crawl space with my husband, holding a flashlight while he patched the pipes and then insulated them.
Whether your water source is from a well or your city, it enters your home as cold water. Keeping the water from turning to ice during cold weather is easily preventable, and can save you much time, energy, and money in repairs. Plan ahead while the weather is still warm, and then follow these guidelines for keeping your pipes from freezing in cold weather:
Other measures you can take are to install electrically powered heat tape to your pipes; use heating lamps to warm the area; use fiberglass insulation to wrap not only the pipes, but joints, as well; and eliminate drafts to crawl spaces.
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