If your area is expecting its first hard freeze for the season, you may worry about the pipes in your home freezing, especially in your kitchen. If so, use the tips below to prepare your kitchen pipes the day before the frigid weather strikes to keep them from bursting.
1. Seal Any Holes or Gaps Near the Pipes
The first thing you need to do to prepare your pipes for a hard freeze is to minimize any drafts surrounding them. Do this by filling any gaps or holes surrounding the pipes under your sink, as well as any you see along the wall inside the cabinet.
If the gaps or holes are fairly small, use a caulking gun to seal up the spaces. However, if you discover large holes along the back of the wall, either fill them in with spackling paste or stuff them with newspaper as a temporary fix until you can get the paste.
2. Wrap Some Type of Insulation Around Exposed Pipes
Once you have taken care of draft-causing holes, the next item on your list is to wrap some kind of insulation around the exposed pipes. If possible, use foam insulation to cover the pipes under your sink. Or, if you have time, heat tape is an ideal choice, as it actively keeps the pipes warm.
However, if the freeze warning came unexpectedly and you do not have time to run to the hardware store, wrap the pipes with anything you have laying around your house. Old towels, blankets, or even several layers of newspaper can help serve as temporary insulation.
3. Keep Undersink Cabinet Doors Open Overnight
Another thing you can do to help keep your pipes from bursting is to keep the cabinet doors under your kitchen sink open. If you keep them closed, cold air coming through the walls or any unseen gaps will become trapped around the pipes, causing a concentration of cold air around them.
If you keep the doors open, however, the cold air can escape. Also, the heat inside your house can provide some protection against the frigid air under your sink.
4. Direct Heat Toward the Pipes
If your home does not stay too warm during the night, or if the air around your pipes is cold even with the cabinet doors open, direct a heat source toward the pipes to combat the cold air. You can use a small space heater to do this.
However, be careful where you place the heater. You do not want to put it too close to your cabinets and cause a fire hazard. Also, you should have the heater off of the floor in case a pipe does break, which could cause an electrical fire.
5. Turn on Your Kitchen Faucet
The last thing you do before you go to bed the night in preparation for the freezing weather is to turn on your kitchen faucet. Turning on the faucet keeps the water moving through the pipes, making them less likely to freeze solid.
When you turn on the faucet, make sure the water maintains a small, steady stream for a few minutes. If you have an older faucet, the seal may expand after a few minutes and shut off the water. If this happens, simply turn on the faucet a little more until the stream flows consistently.
Even if you use the above tips, you may still have a pipe within your wall that freezes and bursts once the ice inside starts to melt. If this happens, turn off your main water valve, and contact an emergency plumbing service before the water causes more damage to your home.