There are few catastrophes that can cause more damage to a house as frozen pipes. Frozen pipes are prone to bursting due to the expansion of water when it freezes. If the expansion is sufficient, the pipes will begin to crack. The cracks may be very small, and not noticeable, but they will be sufficient to let the pipe leak after the ice has melted.
For these reasons, it is important to prevent any freezing that may occur in the first place. Every homeowner should know how to prevent frozen pipes in a crawlspace, as it is a particularly vulnerable area.
Preventing Pipe Freezing
Because crawlspaces are located in unheated portions of the home, they are at great risk for freezing in the winter. If the pipes are buried, they have to be buried well below the frost line to ensure enough insulation. The frost line will be different in different areas, so there is no one depth that is standard when deciding how to prevent frozen pipes in a crawlspace.
Pipes located in the crawlspace, like those located in the attic or the basement, can be insulated fairly easily and with little expense. Wrapping the exposed pipes with an insulating material can help keep them from freezing. This can include an electrical wire heating wrap. These wraps stay wrapped around pipes and will actually heat them to keep them from freezing.
Keep Water Running
Another way to keep pipes from freezing is to never let water sit still long enough to freeze. This can be accomplished by leaving just a trickle of water running through the pipes at all times during the coldest parts of the winter. Both the cold and the hot water valves should be opened in order to achieve the best results.
Leaving the water running slightly may add additional cost to the water bill, but it is a far smaller cost than the cost associated with burst pipes. And this is what learning how to prevent frozen pipes in a crawlspace is all about.
The Foam Fix
There are spray foams that can be used to surround and insulate pipes, but they may not be as effective in a crawlspace as they are inside walls or in basements. The crawlspace is more or less outdoors, and may not have much heat at all that can be insulated.
Spray foam may work if the cold is not too severe or if the crawlspace gets some heat in it from the home. But if the conditions are simply not right for spray foam to be effective, adhering the foam may give you a false sense of security. The spray foam is generally not how to prevent frozen pipes in a crawlspace.
When making sure that the crawlspace pipes are insulated, it is important to take care of both the cold water and the hot water pipes. Some homeowners are under the impression that the hot water pipes are not as prone to freezing as the cold water pipes.
But each is just as apt to freeze in cold temperatures. How to prevent frozen pipes in a crawlspace entails taking care of all of the pipes in the crawlspace, no matter what kind of water they are for and where in the crawlspace they are located.