There simply is no worse feeling than waking up one morning only to realize your back is stiff and your toes are cramped because the air inside your tiny house is a stiff 50º. Or is there? Perhaps waking up one morning realizing your back is stiff and your toes are cramped because the air inside your tiny house is a stiff 50º, turning on the shower, standing in the stall in the buff, only to feel nothing but a puff of air (if that, actually) come from the shower nozzle. Nothing can prepare a human being for the disappointment associated with frozen water pipes other than to not let them freeze in the first place!
When thermometers drop into the freezing zone the risk of frozen and busted water pipes becomes very real. But I have PEX running through my house, you might say. Good point. However, PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipe is freeze-damage resistant only. PEX will expand if frozen and contract to its original shape when thawed. PEX pipe is not freeze-proof. So while PEX pipe may not rupture like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), it will freeze. That is neither here nor there though when talking about how to prevent your water pipes (and the water inside them) from freezing. Hopefully, this quick checklist will help prevent such a dreadful start to your winter day.
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
- If your tiny house is connected to a water source via a garden hose, disconnect and completely drain the hose connection.
- Close and secure outside vents, storage spaces and doors so cold air doesn’t seep inside.
- Seal any cracks in the walls or window trim.
- Consider wrapping your water lines and even your water meter in commercial style insulation.
- Wrap the pipes subject to cold or freezing in heat tape. NOTE: heat tape must be kept plugged in all winter.
- Shut off all inbound water at the shut-off valves.
- If you’re going out of town, keep a minimum amount of heat on in the house. This will help protect the pipes in case of sudden temperature drop.
BRING IT INSIDE
- If a sink is located against an outside wall (as most tiny house kitchen sinks are), open the cabinet doors overnight to allow warm air to reach the water pipes.
- Keep a trickle of water running from the highest faucet in your house.
It may seem simple. Actually, it is simple. As winter approaches keep in mind that water freezes at 32ºC. If the temperature is scheduled to drop below that, be prepared. Use the aforementioned reminders to prepare yourself and your home. It will make your morning showers infinitely better!
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