Before the first snowflakes begin their chilling dance and you prepare to listen to the snowstorms whistling around you, we want to remind you that one of the most common winter disasters is crawl space flooding due to burst frozen pipes. It can result in ruined furnishing and extreme water damage to your property and creating an environment where mold can thrive which can be not only particularly troublesome to deal with in the middle of winter but also expensive. In our humble opinion, an ounce of prevention is worth way more than a pound of cure so we’ve gathered so handy tips on how you can protect your crawl space or basement this winter season.
The purpose of a crawl space is to provide structure while creating an area that makes plumbing, and electrical components for your home accessible to contractors and homeowners for maintenance and repairs when needed without sacrificing valuable living space in your home’s floor plan. It’s also promotes air circulation throughout your home. With that being said, we’re all aware that water expands as it freezes. So that means if the water inside of your pipes freezes, it’ll also expand. This can result in your pipes cracking and eventually bursting. Since a crawl space is partially exposed to the environment through air vents, even a brief cold breeze can freeze the water in your pipes beneath your home.
Though closing the air vents in your crawl space might seem like a logical step to prevent the cold air freezing your pipes which can eventually lead to them bursting, you should consider that in this humid atmosphere is a recipe for moisture buildup, which can cause wood to rot and mold which can cause damage to the structural integrity of your home.
We also advise against allowing your faucet to trickle continuously. Though this can help with a mild case of frozen pipe, it’ll have no effect on a seriously frozen pipe and can actually make the problem worse. Not forgetting to mention that a constant stream of water is wasteful and can get expensive.
Our final word of advice is to avoid insulating with foam wrapping yourself. Though it is a good solution, the constantly fluctuating temperatures of an exposed crawl space makes it easy for pipes to gather condensation on them. Trapping moisture in with the insulation can lead to mold growth and other bacterial spores that can encourage structural decay and an overall unsafe environment for you and your family. We do recommend you seek a professional who is familiar with all aspects of the home insulation process to prevent mold and decay.