If you own an apartment building that has exposed pipes on top of a flat roof, you need to be sure that you take precautionary measures to keep the pipes from freezing during the cold winter months. A frozen pipe can burst and cause water to leak into the building, which could cause a lot of damage in a very short period of time. Use the following guide to learn how to protect your exterior pipes from freezing this winter.
Insulate the Pipes
Pipes are typically made of metal. Metal can become very cold in a very short period of time, which can often lead to pipes freezing. Wrapping the pipes in insulation creates a protective barrier around the pipes to keep them warmer than they would be if they were not insulated. The insulation is simply wrapped around the pipes and then secured with zip ties. You can choose to have protective wrapping added around the insulation to keep bugs and birds from destroying the insulation, if you want.
Heat the Pipes
In areas where the temperatures become extremely cold, heat tape can be a great way to keep pipes from freezing. The tape is wrapped around the pipes before the insulation is added to them. When extreme temperatures hit, the tape can be plugged into an outlet and heat can be generated. The heat will keep the pipes warm enough that they will not freeze, and thus will keep water flowing through them with ease.
Plug Seals and Holes
Have the piping inspected by a plumber before winter hits. You need to be sure that there are no holes or seals in the pipes as they can weaken the structural integrity of the piping and making a rupture more likely. The plumber can determine if the holes can be plugged or if the pipes need to be replaced. Also, he or she can add sealant to the seals to ensure they are as tight as they can possibly be to prevent water from leaking out of a weak seal.
If you are afraid of heights or simply feel like protecting your pipes is not a job that you can do on your own, you can hire a roofer to go on top of the building for you and protect the pipes. Be sure that you start the preventive measures a few weeks before winter hits because the temperatures can often drop very low in the fall and still cause pipes to freeze.