A frozen pipe can be frustrating but it can also lead to a major home disaster. It can burst or crack, allowing 250 gallons of water to enter your home daily. Now you are faced with flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold and mildew accumulation. These situations are largely preventable! Here are a few tips from the Water Savers team to prevent your pipes from freezing and advice for how to handle a pipe if it does freeze.
How to Protect Pipes From Freezing
- Drain Garden Hoses: A frozen garden hose can actually burst an interior pipe due to the increased pressure it places on your entire plumbing system. Disconnect garden hoses and use an indoor valve to shut off/drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
- Seal Up Cracks and Holes: Caulk any holes or cracks near pipes (around windows, doors, electrical wiring, dryer vents, and near your home’s foundation) to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
- Open Your Cabinets and Close Your Garage: When the temperatures drop, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes. Be sure to remove any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of small children. Keep your garage doors closed, especially if water supply lines are located here.
- Add Extra Insulation: Add insulation to walls, ceilings, attics, basements, and crawl spaces to maintain higher temperatures, keeping your pipes warm.
- Pipe Sleeves and Heat Tape: It can get expensive to open up walls, floors, or ceilings in order to properly insulate your pipe Keep exposed pipes warm by fitting them with pipe sleeves or heat tape.
- Drip Your Faucets: During cold weather snaps, let cold water slightly trickle from faucets served by exposed pipes. This prevents pressure from building up in your system and will prevent your pipe from bursting.
- Thermostat: Now is not the time to try to save a few bucks on your heating bill. Maintain a constant indoor temperature (no lower than 55° F ) day or night and when you are away from your home.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, you likely have a frozen pipe. Here is what you should do:
- Keep the faucet open: As you begin treating the frozen pipe, water will begin to flow through the frozen area, helping to melt the ice in the pipe.
- Apply Heat: Locate the frozen area and heat the pipe until full water pressure is restored using an electric heating pad or hair dryer, a portable space heater, or by wrapping the pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water and do not use an open flame device (e.g. blowtorch, gas heater) to attempt to thaw the pipe.
Call Water Savers
If your water pipes have already burst, you are unable to locate or access the frozen area, or you cannot thaw a pipe, call the professionals at Water Savers! We are available 24/7 for all of your plumbing needs!