Have you properly insulated the water pipes at your home? Last year’s winter in Kashmir valley was extremely harsh and there was hardly any home that did not face the issue of frozen water pipes. Several households had no water supply at all for over a week due to frozen pipes.
Later, many faced the issue of bursting taps and pipes and finding a plumber had become hard to find. And when the pipes burst, ‘Danisha nalki ha phot’ memes were doing rounds on social media.
While ‘Chillai Kalaan’ – Kashmir’s harshest 40 day winter period is about to set in and the weatherman has already forecast a sharp dip in minimum temperatures in the coming days, it is imperative that you take the following measures before it gets too late:
1. Cover the pipes but don’t forget the joints
Almost all in Kashmir cover the water pipes with different materials but it has often been noticed that the joints and valves are not properly covered. Make sure that the joints and valves are properly covered as it has been observed that the water freezes there only.
2. Use polythene over foam or rubber
These days lots of pipes made of foam and rubber are available in Kashmir markets that reduce the chances of freezing. However, covering these foam and rubber pipes with polythene provide extra protection from cold. The polythene can also help further tighten the additional material you use to cover the joints and valves.
3. Avoid cloth in open areas
Covering a water pipe with a piece of fabrics ranging from a sack to old fleece thermals is common in Kashmir winters. These can provide good insulation if the pipes are indoors. However, if pipes are in the open, these pieces of cloth get wet during the night and then even get frozen. Instead of keeping the pipe warm, these frozen fabrics will further aid freezing of water in the pipes.
4. Look out for dripping valves
It has often been noticed that people do not bother to repair dripping valves and it becomes very problematic in the winters. At times it wets the sack covered adjacent pipes and further freezes the water in the pipes. Sometimes, if the drip is minor, it forms a layer of frozen ice over the valve and makes thawing the pipes more difficult.
5. Remember the Kashmiri ‘diggin’
Allowing the taps to gently drip during the night is a good way to avoid freezing. However, make sure the drip is not too fast as it can empty your water tank upstairs. All you need is a slight trickle. Also, keep a bucket underneath the tap so that the water is not wasted.
6. Cover your water tanks
We do cover our pipes but we usually forget our water tanks in the attic. These plastic water tanks can be covered with old blankets or rugs. Also properly insulate the pipes that are connected to the tanks in the attic.
7. Store adequate water
Make sure you store adequate water in your kitchen and bathrooms. Get big containers and buckets and keep them full. The stored water will come in handy in case the water pipes still freeze despite taking preventive measures.
8. Turn off main supply if you are leaving town
Several Kashmiris spend the winters in Jammu, Delhi or other places to avoid the cold winters. Others go for a vacation for a week or two. If you’re leaving town, make sure you turn the water off at the main shutoff. If the frozen pipes crack, there will be far less damage as compared to a situation if the main supply is still on.
9. Check the market for new products
Foam pipes were not available in the Kashmir markets a few years ago. Now, rubber pipes too are available that provide good insulation from the cold. Do pay a visit to the local hardware store and check for the latest products that can prevent freezing of water pipes.
10. Know your ‘connections’
Youngsters mostly do not know from where the main water supply comes from at their respective homes. They do not know much about their ‘water connections’ at home either. If the elders at your house have passed away or have moved out for the winter months, make sure you know where the main supply comes from and which valve has to be turned off in case of a pipe burst or other issues.