Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and expensive issue of frozen pipes. Here’s some suggestions around how to prevent pipes from freezing and how to thaw them if they do freeze.
Why frozen pipes is a problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. Expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it. This includes metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that get exposed to severe cold:
- outdoor hose bibs.
- swimming pool supply lines.
- water sprinkler lines.
- water supply pipes in unheated interior areas.
- crawl spaces.
- kitchen cabinets.
- exterior walls that have little or no insulation
Take Preventative Action
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air around the plumbing.
- When it’s very cold outside let the cold water drip from the faucet, served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Places for frozen pipes include exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe. Try an electric hair dryer or portable space heater. Wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure comes back. If you are unable to locate the frozen pipe, if the frozen pipe is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call us.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.