How To Avoid Frozen Pipes

Frozen residential pipes cannot only disrupt your normal routine, they could cost you thousands in cleanup and repairs if the icy plumbing lines burst and leave a sopping mess behind. How can you maintain working plumbing throughout the cold winter months and avoid frozen pipes in your home?

Prepare for Winter

Do not wait until the temperature drops into the negatives to begin protecting your pipes. Before the frost hits, take action and examine the high-risk areas of your home. The pipes most likely to freeze are those located in a garage, basement or outdoors – such as your garden hose spigot. If possible, shut off the main water supply to these pipes.

For pipes located in uninsulated areas, wrapping them in insulation or heat tape is a low-cost preventative measure. Disconnect hoses from outdoor faucets and drain irrigation systems. Keep hose spigots in the “open” position to allow any remaining moisture to drain, rather than turn to ice. You can also buy plastic outdoor faucet covers to further insulate the pipes leading into your home.

Keep Watch for Problems

Make sure you know how to shut off the water main in your home. When the forecast predicts multiple days in a row of below-freezing temperatures, leave a faucet dripping in the sink farthest from the water main when you retire for the night. While you may have the habit of turning down the thermostat in the evening, you may preserve your plumbing system by paying extra on your heating bill and maintaining a warm temperature throughout the night.

If you plan to take a vacation, the Red Cross advises you leave your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees. Leave cabinets open underneath all the sinks in your home to allow heat to circulate around the pipes. It is also helpful to know the contact information of a plumber who offers around-the-clock emergency service in case of overnight plumbing disasters.

Call a Plumber When You Notice an Issue

When you discover a frozen pipe, do not attempt to thaw it with a blowtorch or any other open flame, due to risk of pipe damage and fire. You can position a space heater close to the frozen pipe to circulate heat while leaving a faucet open to encourage water flow. Do not leave the frozen pipe and space heater unattended. If the pipe does not thaw quickly, contact a plumber to repair the problem. Neglecting a frozen pipe will only lead to more problems and increased repair costs.

Get in touch with a local plumber who has the necessary experience to efficiently restore your frozen residential pipes before water damage occurs, or relocate problematic pipes to prevent future freezing concerns.

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