Tis the season for pipes to be freezing. The cold weather can cause big problems for your pipes. Frozen pipes are the biggest risk to property damage once the temperature drops. Therefore, it’s important for you to know how to prevent this from happening and to know what to do if it does happen.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
You can prevent the freezing of your pipes and in return save the headache from having to deal with the cleanup and the expense from your pocketbook. Here are some helpful preventative tips.
- Relocate exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces.
- Contact a licensed contractor to inspect your pipes.
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs.
- Check areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas: basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
- Both hot and cold water pipes should be insulated.
- Consider installing ?pipe sleeve? or installing UL-listed ?heat tape,? ?heat cable,? or similar materials on exposed water pipes.
Action During the Cold
You can take preventative action during the cold weather to save your pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes (running water through the pipe helps prevent pipes from freezing).
- Leave the heat on in your home at all times. Set to a temperature no lower than 55? F. The freezing temperature for water is 32 degrees. So, it’s important to keep your home above this temperature.
Thaw Frozen Pipes
Here are some tips to at start the process of thawing out your? pipes. The main goal is to prevent the pipes from bursting which can cause a lot of property damage.
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.
- Keep the faucet open. Running water through the pipe will help to melt the ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.
- If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too. So, check your other pipes.
A frozen pipe can lead to a bursting pipe and, as a result, this can lead up to $5,000 in water damage. Once a pipe bursts, you should immediately call a professional contractor.
- The first step is to always shut down your home’s main water supply. Depending on the amount of water and location, you may want to first turn off the electricity to your home.
- If it’s heated water that’s coming from the broken pipe, you should also close the valve attached to your hot water heater.
- If the burst pipe is still frozen, don’t let it thaw.
- Take an inventory of damaged belongings and call your insurance company.
For more information on frozen pipes or for other resources, a good site to visit is the American Red Cross.