DIY: A Fast and Low-Cost Way to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Happy February Minneapolis! Unfortunately, those temps have yet dropped again! Gotta just love the way Minnesota teases us in the winter with a 40-degree day, only to drop a mere 50 degrees the next day (I do honestly find the humor in it even though it truly is a very bitter thing for mother nature to do to us!)
I did a little research to see if heat tape was a successful product to help prevent pipes from freezing and it sounds like indeed it can be very beneficial! When selecting your heat tape and insulation you need to be sure that you’re getting a product approved for your particular application.
There are 2 different kinds of heat tape:
Silicone Heat Tape
There are two types of heat tape available for manufactured homes. The first type is a one-piece flat heat tape with a rubber or silicone coating. When installed, it must never overlap itself and the heat tape must run flat along the pipe. Locate the thermostat at the end of the pipe that will be the coldest. This particular heat tape is coated with rubber and resists moisture, which helps it to last longer. Typically heat tape can last 3 to 5 years but should be checked seasonally.
Braided Heat Tape
The second type of heat tape is a braided type of heat tape. This heat tape is sold by the foot, which can make it hard to judge exactly how much you will need. In addition, you must also purchase two ends to install on either end of the tape. When installed, it is wrapped around the pipe and can safely be overlapped without worry, which makes it safer to use. A downside to using this type of heat tape is that it has no rubber coating, the heat tape tends to rust and stop working due to the lack of a moisture barrier. Most contractors like to use this type of tape as they can buy it in large quantities and use only what’s needed on any particular job.
Another VERY useful invention to help prevent a water damage from frozen pipes is installing a freeze alarm. Freeze alarms warn you when your lines reach a critically low temperature. The alarm itself is installed inside your home with a cord attached and running to your water line. The installation is fairly simple and straightforward, but as always follow the manufactures recommendations and instructions.
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