Monthly Archives: February 2014

Pipe Protection

Don’t Be Caught Off Guard

Subfreezing temperatures can cause extensive problems for an unprepared homeowner. If your pipes have already frozen, leaks can spring up as thawing occurs. Frozen pipes and protecting your pipes for colder weatherleaks can happen in the walls, under the house, or under the sinks inside the house.  All of your pipes must be cared for, not just the ones that are exposed outside.

How to Prevent Freezing Pipes

All pipes should be wrapped and insulated. The pre-slit pipe wrap insulation is one of the easiest to install.  It fits over your pipes and is to be taped down so that it stays in place.  These prefabricated pipe wraps are made by a variety of companies. You can also use the traditional rolls of insulation and wrap the pipes yourself.  As long as the pipes are covered before they are frozen, the insulation should protect the pipes from freezing.

Helpful Hints

If your house has a crawl space beneath it, you should check to make sure that any vents or entryways are closed so that a direct current of cold air is not invading your pipes’ territory.  If your water heater is in a closet with outdoor access, make sure that those pipes are insulated as well. Inside pipes should be insulated also.

Inside your home, on the coldest of days, opening your cabinet doors beneath your sinks is a good idea. This will allow heat to flow around the pipes. Putting lit light bulbs underneath your home near your pipe network is a good way to help prevent freezing.  Light bulbs produce heat and will combat the freezing temperatures. You can purchase a cord with a bulb socket on it.  Some of these cords are long and have multiple bulb sockets. They were originally designed for outdoor lighting for parties, but you can re-purpose these into a pipe-heating mechanism.  It is well worth the effort to crawl under your home and place these lamps near your pipe network.

Outdoor spigots should not be used during winter. These are prime targets for freezing. Make sure that you drain these well. Wrap them with extra insulation to prevent damage.

How to Thaw

Despite your best efforts to prevent freezing, sometimes freezing happens.  If this happens to your pipes, be sure to use either a hair dryer or a light bulb to defrost them. Both will heat the pipe with warmth and neither will melt the pipe. You should consider turning the water off at the main meter before attempting to defrost the pipe. If a leak occurs, this will minimize the amount of water available to make a mess. If the pipe bursts or springs a leak, it is a great idea to contact a plumber immediately.


What’s In Your Attic?

Time to Investigate

Do you know what is in your attic? The best time to climb into your attic to investigate is during the  winter months. You will find that the unconditioned attic’s temperature will be what's in your atticmore bearable during winter than it will ever be during the summer months.

What You Might Find

If your home is built on a concrete pad foundation, you are going to find your heating and air ductwork in the attic. Ductwork is the veins and arteries of the air flow system that provides heated or cooled air to the living space in your home.  Ductwork is sealed and is most likely wrapped in insulation in your attic. In older homes, ductwork can leak causing warm or cold air to escape into the attic before it reaches your living space.  If your unit is working properly, but you are having issues heating or cooling your home, leaky ductwork may be the culprit.

Attic Invasions

A common cause of leaky ductwork is attic invasion. If you are hearing noises in your attic and your home’s temperature is not comfortable, you might have unwanted and uninvited guests living up there. Squirrels and raccoons are common attic invaders. Squirrels most often enter from the roofline during the end of winter to build new nests. They are known to damage ductwork and electrical wiring. However, the raccoons tend to wreak much more havoc by destroying insulation and all of the ductwork. These invaders must be removed by trapping and physically removing them, and then the damaged ductwork must be repaired by trained technicians.

Invasion Prevention

January is the time for pest prevention in your attic. You should check for entry points and close them off with wire.  Uncovered vents of any kind on the roof are perfect access points for squirrels. Wire is the best deterrent because the varmints cannot chew through it to make their own way inside. Once you have your attic pest-proof, you will be able to rest comfortably knowing that your ductwork and electrical wiring is safe.