Plumbers in Mississauga, or in any other region that experiences harsh winters, can pass on some sound advice to their clients about avoiding frozen pipes. Some recommendations involve draining hose bibs and removing garden hoses before temperatures drop or using heat tape or some other type of insulation for outdoor pipes and those that are accessible but located in vulnerable areas that are directly exposed to the cold. Many also emphasize the importance of keeping a heat source turned on even when no one is home (at the very least, no less than 12°C) and to keep a faucet dripping. Nonetheless, the professionals are ready to help with disaster prevention and to deal with mishaps when they do occur.
Often in this region of Canada, some homeowners seek assistance in preventing pipes from freezing. This is understandable considering that from November to early March, temperatures range from 2°C to 4.4°C and drop to as low as -5°C in December. And these are just the average daytime highs. So, at night, with temps dipping down even lower, frozen pipes cause a lot of concern.
As a plumber in Mississauga might advise, prevention is lot easier than repairing plumbing or even structural damage. The most important advice is to winterize any outdoor water systems. To start off, garden hoses need to be drained, removed, and stored as mentioned. Any indoor valves that supply the outdoor hose bibs need to be closed, and the bibs, themselves, need to be opened for a thorough drainage. However, a more effective preventative measure that any plumber in Mississauga would recommend is to install a frost proof sillcock. Because the washer falls under the frost line, the homeowner never has to worry about draining the bib.
Also, homeowners might enlist the help of a plumber to relocate pipes that are more exposed to the outdoor elements—though this option is expensive. So, another idea is to take heating cable and tie it down with cable ties. This technique proves to be effective and cost efficient. To step up the protection, applying a heating cable with a temperature sensor that detects the decrease in temperature also guards against freezing.
In addition to the measures already mentioned, insulating pipes that are located in vulnerable areas of the property is one of the most important and cost-effective solutions for homeowners. While some people feel confident about applying insulation themselves, others might resort to calling a plumber in Mississauga to ensure the job is done right.
In fact, doing a walk-through of the property with the owner helps tremendously with locating the areas of concern. In case the owner is not aware, sometimes pointing out these areas would be useful when it comes to making a prevention plan. Right away, the areas that require the most focus include attics and basements, exterior walls, mechanical rooms, any storage buildings that don’t have heating, and floor cavities that are located above crawl spaces.
Regarding the insulation itself, choosing the ideal material depends on the location of the pipes as well as length, width, and the type of material. For instance, PVC pipe does not freeze as quickly as copper or steel, and for this type, a foam and foil insulation tape might do the trick. On the other hand, a polyethylene foam tube, like the Tundra tube by Armacell, proves to be the better option for cold weather protection of both PVC and metal pipes.
When looking for insulation for pipes that are located inside the exterior walls, specifically for retrofit applications, a self-sealing, closed-cell foam insulation proves to be effective. Plus, the self-adhesive makes for quicker and easier installation.
For outdoor applications, on the other hand, the frequent use of a fiber glass insulation has been replaced with more durable, weather-resistant choices like the Armaflex coil pipe insulation. Its strong, outer coating stands up to both UV exposure and freezing temperatures. Nevertheless, professionals cannot completely rule out fiberglass pipe wrap as an overwrap layer that gives additional protection for outdoor pipes. One other popular choice is the tubular rubber insulation with or without self-seal adhesive. One reason for why this type of material works so well is because plumbers can install it safely with heat cables or heat tape.
Nonetheless, plumbers in Mississauga are bound to get some emergency calls as temperatures plummet, and pipes freeze. Until help arrives and if the pipe is accessible, plumbers can advise their customers to apply a heating pad on the frozen area. Other methods for applying direct heat include using a hair dryer on the area or placing a space heater directly facing it. If the area of pipe is not accessible, or the homeowner doesn’t know where exactly the frozen spot is located, then the best course of action is to turn off the main water source until the plumber arrives.
As far as the best tools go for thawing out frozen pipes, a pipe thawing machine proves to be the quickest and most efficient. This type of gadget is also one of the safest alternatives to the blow torch and heat gun. In one example, the Artic Blaster Pipe Thawing system, the main box has the capacity to hold two gallons of water that are easily converted to steam using a propane torch to heat the water. The long tube that emits the steam is inserted into the pipe, and the hot steam goes to work. Depending on the width and length of the pipe, thawing can take anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes. Another advantage is that this machine is portable and can be used indoors or outdoors.
Likewise, another pipe thawing kit, the KT-190 by Rigid, almost resembles a battery charger. However, the two cables with clamps at the end emit a low voltage of AC current to quickly get the job done.
This winter might present some challenges when it comes to frozen pipes, but with preventive measures, the right materials, and equipment, plumbers will be prepared to overcome the obstacles and meet the needs of their customers.