Avoiding Busted Pipes

Tom Mullholland

by Tom Mulholland

How many times have you been asked by your dental hygienist: “Are you flossing your teeth?”

In similar fashion, with the onset of winter, your plumber will ask, “Are your pipes protected?”

These are the action steps I recommend to any householder who wants to avoid a pipe-bursting nightmare.

  1. Insulate all vulnerable pipes — vulnerable pipes are those pipes that are in an unheated parts of the house and subject to cold drafts. I recommend a product called “Armaflex” which is available at your local plumbing supply outlet or online. Armaflex is superior to the pipe insulation typically sold in hardware stores.
  2. Re-locate pipes that are susceptible to freezing.
  3. If at all possible avoid heat tape as a preventive measure against freezing pipes. Why?  Because of power outages. Because people often forget to plug in (and unplug) heat tapes. And because of heat tape failure. Householders are often under the illusion that their pipes are protected by heat tape, when they’re not.
  4. If you have a hot water heating system you should consider adding anti-freeze to it.
  5. If you are leaving town during the winter — and no-one’s at home to look after things then you should winterize your plumbing system. This entails three things: first, drain all the water supply pipes; second, drain your hot water heater and your pressure tank if you have your own well; third, put anti-freeze into all plumbing fixture traps.

Finally, don’t hesitate to call a plumber or seek help from a competent friend.

Tom Mulholland at is a licensed plumber serving Central Vermont since 1988. For further information contact Tom at
793-6017 or tcmulholland48@gmail.com.

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