suggested that I write the annual
getting-ready-for-winter column early this year because
the last time I did, we had a mild one.
so much to say about winter preparation that it will
likely take more than one column, so weíll start with
something from last season that still brings nightmares
to many. Iím referring to the ice storm of early
February that interrupted electrical service to huge
swaths of Philadelphiaís western and northern suburbs
talk here about how to prevent pipes from freezing and
then bursting as the temperature rises.
of my experts said at the time that while more
energy-efficient construction reduces the chance of
frozen pipes in newer homes, there are no guarantees.
you need to do now is locate the water lines that are
running along exterior walls or in places where cold air
may penetrate, and then do something to protect them.
way is to insulate the pipes using foam rubber that you
can pick up at the hardware store or home center. Make
sure you know the diameter of your pipes beforehand, so
you donít waste time and effort.
slip the insulation over the pipe, peel the backing
strips, then seal it by pressing the adhesive surfaces
use the non-self-stick variety (which is less
expensive), fit it around the pipes, and close it up
with duct tape.
added protection, I slip in a half-inch-thick piece of
rigid insulation between the pipe and the block basement
reduce cold-air intrusion, seal any gaps around the
house where cold air may penetrate and come into contact
with the piping. In severe cold, especially when itís
wind-driven, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold
air to cause a pipe to freeze.
leaks from the outside and from colder areas into warmer
ones is perhaps the best way to keep your utility costs
are, Iím sure, many more things you can do to keep
your pipes from freezing, but my last recommendation
today is to locate the water-shutoff valve to the house
and learn how to drain the pipes.