Busted pipes are one of the most severe threats to a home during the winter. With frigid temperatures fast approaching you need be prepared. It’s not uncommon for people to think that the only pipes at risk of freezing are those that are outdoors, but in reality the pipes inside your home are also at risk. Those especially vulnerable are in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage or even run along an exterior wall.
Water is unique in the sense that when it freezes, it expands, thus, putting extreme pressure on your pipes until they can no longer withstand the expansion and burst. Follow these simple tips for frozen pipe prevention. Or if it’s already happened, we’ve also outlined the measures that can be taken to safely thaw them.
Prevent and Prepare
Pipes that are located on exterior walls of your home or in unheated areas such as your basement, attic or garage should be insulated with pipe wrap or pipe sleeves.
Keep them Dripping
On the most frigid of nights, keep your faucets dripping. Even the smallest movement of water through the pipes will help keep them from freezing.
Leave the Doors Open
Open up your vanity or cabinet doors to allow warm air to reach the pipes in your kitchen and bathrooms. Same goes for any closet or pantry that may have exposed pipes.
Winterize Outdoor Plumbing
If your home has outdoor plumbing it’s important to take the proper steps to winterize it. You should always shut off any exterior water sources, remove and store your hoses for the winter, and open your spigots to drain any remaining water in the line.
Close the Garage
The garage is a big insulation problem when left open, keep it closed to keep most of the heat from escaping and thus preventing exposed pipes from freezing.
The chances of your pipes freezing hit an all-time high when the power goes out, having a backup power source will ensure your pipes stay warm, not to mention yourself!
Keep the Heat On
Never turn the heat off in frigid temperatures. This applies to anyone, but especially snowbirds and landlords. The extra money spent on utilities with be worth it to prevent water damage to your home and belongings.
Frozen pipes can happen without warning, and the result could be catastrophic. By recognizing the early signs and taking the proper steps needed to thaw them, you can keep your home & wallet safe from the costly water damage.
Recognize the Signs
The first signs of trouble can include no running water or visible signs of frost or freezing on the pipes.
Find the Freeze
The main culprit can usually be found in or on an exterior wall, inside a cabinet, under a sink or in an unheated area of your home such as the basement or crawlspace. Anywhere there is less heat or poor insulation.
Turn on Water
Moving water speeds the thawing process, when the ice begins to thaw, your faucets will start to trickle water from the melting ice.
Use of Heat Source
The easiest way to thaw a frozen pipe is with the use of heat. If the pipe is exposed you can use a hair dryer, heat lamp or you can also wrap the pipe with a hot towel, heating pad or a blanket. Pipes that are located inside a wall you thaw with a space heater, placed a safe distance from the wall. It’s critical not to use anything with an open flame. If you’re not comfortable thawing the pipes yourself, you should contact a licensed plumber to help.
Now, if the worst-case scenario does occur and you find yourself with a burst pipe, immediately turn off the main water supply to avoid any further flood damage to your home. Next step is to contact Jackson Comfort Services or a professional plumbing company near you. Our experts will assess the situation, make any necessary pipe repairs along with making suggestions on how to prevent future occurrences.